OPERA ENCORE: Bulgari and a group of other investors have started fund-raising for a second Opera fund. Bulgari said it is injecting $24.2 million, or 20 million euros at current exchange rates, in Opera 2 and that other unnamed investors contributed $84.8 million, or 70 million euros. The goal is to raise $302.7 million, or 250 million euros, and target acquisitions in areas ranging from food and wine to fashion and tourism. The first Opera fund, established in 2000, snapped up stakes in companies such as Bruno Magli, watchmaker Sector and furniture firms Unopiu and B&B Italia. Bulgari owns half of Opera Management SA, the Luxembourg-based company that manages both funds. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Opera 2 is focusing on the home furnishings sector. Opera 1 is in talks to sell yacht maker Itama to focus on larger acquisitions.
EAGLE LANDING: American Eagle Outfitters is using SteppingStones from TradeStone Software Inc. to communicate with far-flung factories and speed orders to the boat more quickly, TradeStone said. The software puts out bids and verifies deliveries, and because it uses only e-mail alerts and Web pages in the native language and currency of the reader, factories don’t need training or setup. The software also issues a “report card” so suppliers can fix problems. SteppingStones started shipping in November, and TradeStone has a handful of customers for the software, including The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc.
FORMER CEO SENTENCED: Former Rite Aid Corp. chief executive officer Martin Grass was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for his role in a $1.6 billion accounting fraud, Reuters reported. Additionally, Martin was sentenced to three years supervised release once he completes his prison term. As reported earlier this month, Martin struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania in which he must also pay $500,000 in fines and give back $3 million to the government. Under the terms of the plea agreement, he could have received up to 10 years imprisonment.
NOT IN THE BAG YET: A Manhattan federal district court on Monday denied a request for a preliminary injunction from an LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton subsidiary in a lawsuit it filed against Burlington Coat Factory, according to Burlington’s attorneys at Darby & Darby. The lawsuit, filed by Louis Vuitton Malletier on April 7, sought to bar Burlington from selling a line of beaded handbags featuring an “NY” monogram that LVMH said had infringed on its trademarks. A spokeswoman for LVMH said, “We believe strongly that the marks on the counterfeit Burlington handbags are nearly identical with the famous Louis Vuitton Toile Monogram trademarks and we have significant evidence demonstrating Burlington’s bad faith.?We intend to pursue our case vigorously. To that end, we have requested a stay of the ruling and filed a notice of appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.”