BULGARI: NO PLANS TO BUY VALENTINO
Byline: Luisa Zargani
MILAN — Speculation about the future of Holding di Partecipazioni never ceases.
A month after HdP announced it has put its Fila Holding SpA division up for sale, came news in Italian papers Thursday that Valentino is being courted by Bulgari. A spokeswoman for HdP, which controls Valentino, Fila, GFT Net, Joseph Abboud and publishing house Rizzoli Corriere della Sera, said she had no comment. Bulgari denied the rumor.
One industry source told WWD that Valentino had an offer, and HdP is gathering data for due diligence.
HdP bought Valentino in January 1998 for $300 million, three times the direct sales of the fashion house and one of the highest multiples in the fashion business at the time. As reported in April, Valentino’s sales were $104.4 million in 2000, but sources said the division lost $18.5 million. The company expects to be in the black by 2002 or 2003.
In March, Gucci also appeared to be interested in Valentino, but sources said it didn’t want to buy GFT Net, the holding company for the Valentino and Joseph Abboud brands that also produces the Calvin Klein men’s wear collection under license. While HdP has repeatedly denied that Valentino and GFT Net are even up for sale, industry sources say HdP wants to sell both companies as a package — at a price of approximately $450 million.
Marzotto has often been rumored to be a possible buyer of Valentino, but the company consistently denies it. On Thursday, a spokesman for Marzotto, which controls Hugo Boss, said the company is interested, as it is in many different companies, but Valentino wasn’t its primary concern.
Sources also said Fin.part, the company that controls Cerruti, Maska, Andrea Pfister, Moncler, Henry Cottons, Marina Yachting, Best Company and Frette, is interested in buying GFT Net.
“I deny this,” said Gianluigi Facchini, president and chief executive officer of Fin.part. “We bought the GFT Bosconero production plant [ this month], but that’s all. We are not looking into GFT. We are focused on our goal, which is to develop our labels. We are not interested in other acquisitions at the moment.”
Another report circulating is that Basic Net, which owns sportswear labels Kappa, Robe di Kappa and Jesus Jeans, is interested in buying Fila. Marco Boglione, the company’s president, did not return phone calls.
Last year, Fila lost $63 million on sales of $860 million. The loss was due to a combination of outlet closures in the U.S., interest rate increases and unfavorable dollar-to-euro exchange rates.