GUCCI EYES TWO MORE ACQUISITIONS
Byline: Courtney Colavita
MILAN — With the ink barely dry on the Bottega Veneta deal, it appears Gucci Group is in the market for another set of acquisitions.
Industry sources here say Gucci is eyeing the Geneva-based fine jewelry and watch firm Chopard and Italian fragrance company Acqua di Parma. A Gucci spokesman said Monday the company does not comment on speculation regarding acquisitions.
Chopard denied that any deal is even being discussed. “We have not been in contact with Gucci,” said Karl Scheufele, who runs the company with his sister Caroline. In a phone interview from the company’s Geneva headquarters, he added: “We are not interested in selling.”
Chopard produces about 70,000 timepieces and an equal amount of fine jewelry a year. The family-run company reported sales of $313 million in 2000 and has more than 1,250 points of sale around the world, including 50 Chopard boutiques.
As for Acqua di Parma, a spokeswoman said she was unaware of any deal with Gucci. “If there’s something remotely in the works, we haven’t heard about it yet,” she said.
Acqua di Parma, best known for its Mediterranean-style unisex beauty products in canary yellow packaging, has in recent years expanded into luxury goods. It is controlled by Paolo Borgomanero, Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle.
But discussion could be going on, said sources, since Della Valle and De Sole are old friends.
Gucci has been on an acquisition tear for more than a year in a bid to build its brand portfolio. It has a cash pile of $2.5 billion — from strategic partner Pinault Printemps Redoute — that has been earmarked for acquisitions.
Earlier this month, the luxury goods group acquired a 66.7 percent stake in the Italian ready-to-wear and accessories firm Bottega Veneta. Last year, Gucci purchased the luxury jeweler Boucheron, watchmaker Bedat & Co. and, in December, bought a 51 percent stake in Alexander McQueen. The group also owns Yves Saint Laurent and Sergio Rossi.