MILAN — Malo’s administrators have selected Italian retail developer Evante as the new owner of the cashmere knitwear firm, pending the approval of the ministry of economic development. Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has temporarily taken over that role.

This story first appeared in the June 25, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Andrea Ciccoli, one of the three state-appointed administrators, together with Roberto Spada and Stanislao Chimenti, told WWD, “This was a complex restructuring and, at the outset, it was all but clear that it could actually be done.”

Evante is a general contractor, a private company based in Arezzo, Italy, that develops luxury stores. Among its clients are brands such as Louis Vuitton and Prada and, most recently, Abercrombie & Fitch, which opened its first Italian flagship in Milan in October.

Four offers for Malo were submitted in early June, following a public auction and a one-month due diligence investigation. According to sources, Evante outbid sock and knitwear company Ciocca, which also controls the Drumohr brand; Enzo D’Addario, who owns one of Italy’s main auto dealers, and entrepreneur Michele Prestipino through his firm Partecipazioni e Investimenti. It is understood the administrators chose Evante because of the value of its offer, which was not disclosed; willingness to maintain all the 200 employees, and its plans to develop the brand.

Malo’s parent company, IT Holding SpA, which also controls the Gianfranco Ferré label and manufacturing arm Ittierre SpA, has been in government-backed bankruptcy protection since February 2009. The administrators launched the auction of Ferré and Ittierre, which produces the Just Cavalli, C’N’C Costume National, Galliano and Ermanno Ermanno Scervino collections, earlier this month.

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