HALSTON BORGHESE BEING SOLD; BALIATICO OUT
Byline: Jenny B. Fine
NEW YORK — Ray Baliatico has resigned as president and chief executive officer of Halston Borghese International Ltd. — while the company is being dismantled. The divestiture of its brands and Baliatico’s departure are unrelated events, the company said.
Baliatico, whose resignation is effective Jan. 31, said in a statement that he is leaving “to pursue personal business interests.”
Some of his duties will be assumed by Michael D’Appolonia, executive vice president of Nightingale & Associates, which supplies executives for companies in the midst of divestiture. His title will be interim chief executive officer.
Halston Borghese’s brands are being sold individually, and Princess Marcella Borghese is the first to go: A letter of intent to purchase has been signed by an investor group led by Princess Marcella Borghese’s twin sons, Francesco and Livio. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Rafael Kravec, president of French Fragrances, confirmed that his company was negotiating with Halston Borghese for Borghese’s fragrance division, but declined to provide further details. In addition, reports have been circulating that Paul Sebastian is negotiating to acquire the Nautica fragrance brand. Sebastian executives were not available for comment.
Sherry Baker, president of Halston Borghese North America, declined to comment on the reports, citing confidentiality agreements, but did say an announcement would be made in “four to six weeks.”
“We believe very much in the [Halston] brand,” Kravec said. “It is very well known in middle America.”
French Fragrances owns the Geoffrey Beene brands and the distribution rights for the Salvador Dali fragrances.
Halston Borghese was assembled in 1991 as a result of acquisitions from Revlon. According to industry sources, the company’s Saudi Arabian owners, who have remained unidentified, acquired the brands for a reported $72 million in 1991 and have since invested an additional $110 million.
According to industry estimates, the company’s annual wholesale volume is between $105 and $125 million worldwide.
The divestiture was not unexpected. Last July, Baker said the company was interested in forming a “strategic alliance” to gain much-needed investment. At the same time, she said the firm was not adverse to selling the company as a whole or in parts.
Asked why the owners had decided to divest, rather than form a new partnership, Baker said, “My guess is that those strategic options that were presented were seen by the owners as less viable than the divestiture options.” Baker said she is staying with the company for now and did not rule out remaining with one of the three brands that are in play.
“I’ve got lots of wonderful options, and staying with one of the companies is clearly a very strong possibility,” she said.
Despite the divestiture, Halston Borghese is going ahead with its promotional and product launches for spring, including the introduction of Borghese’s Focus on Eyes in March.