JIL SANDER BECOMES A PRIVATE COMPANY

Byline: Samantha Conti

MILAN — It’s official: Jil Sander AG has been pulled off the Frankfurt stock exchange and is now a private company. Prada said in a statement Wednesday the tender offer it announced last month for the 102,500 non-voting, preferred shares traded on the market was a success.
“Prada Group now owns more than 78 percent of the company’s preferred shares, in addition to the 75 percent of ordinary shares it had already owned,” the statement said. “These share holdings represent a qualified majority.”
As reported , Prada offered approximately $320 per share — 35 percent more than Jil Sander AG’s average share price for the three months preceding the offer. Equities analysts told WWD they were not surprised by the success of the offer: The price was right.
The success of the offer not only consolidates Prada’s power within the company, it allows Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli to restructure Jil Sander on his own terms. He will no longer have to publish financial results, justify his strategies to the market or answer to the small group of minority shareholders, which included Jil Sander’s franchisees.
Some industry analysts have even speculated that taking Jil Sander private might be a first step toward an overall IPO for the Prada Group. Bertelli, however, has vehemently denied speculation that he plans to take his company public.
Last August, when Bertelli bought Jil Sander AG, he acquired 75 percent of the ordinary voting shares and only 18 percent of the preferred shares. Sander, who left the company in January after a falling out with Bertelli and who sources say will not be returning to the company after the two could not patch up their differences, still holds the remaining 25 percent of the ordinary voting shares.
Both Sander and Bertelli have repeatedly declined to comment on the issue.
At the time he announced the tender offer, Bertelli said he planned to beef up control over distribution and retail, buy back licensed businesses and open new stores. He also said the design division would be reinforced, reflecting the tradition and image of the Jil Sander brand name.