As first reported by WWD in July, Roberto Cavalli’s owners are said to be open to new investors and on Tuesday the buzz surrounding the Florence-based company heated up following a Mergermarket report.
According to Mergermarket, the Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR has handed Rothschild a mandate to find a buyer for a minority stake. Clessidra took control of Cavalli in 2015, but has been looking to exit the fashion business.
Asked about the speculation, Rothschild and Clessidra declined to comment. A market source close to the fund said Clessidra fully supports Cavalli’s chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who joined the brand in July 2016, and has no intention of exiting the fashion house.
The source added that Clessidra is open to bringing on investors to inject fresh capital and expand the brand, which is designed by Paul Surridge. In September, Clessidra injected 5 million euros through a capital increase.
In May 2016, Italmobiliare SpA, the publicly listed investment group owned by the Pesenti family, took control of Clessidra for roughly 20 million euros. Italmobiliare holds and manages a diversified portfolio of investments and equity interests worth more than 2 billion euros.
Founder and designer Roberto Cavalli himself retains a 10 percent stake in the firm, but he has eased out of the fashion industry.
Earlier this month, Ferraris said Cavalli was entering the hotel business, with its first hotel expected to be completed in 2023 in Dubai in partnership with Dico International, the strategic investment arm of the Dubai-based Damac property developer.
Work on the five-star hotel tower will begin in the first quarter of next year. Ferraris said it would the first of at least five hotels in 10 years. On that occasion, Ferraris reiterated his confidence in Cavalli breaking even this year, and turning a profit in 2019.
“Everything is according to plan,” he said, adding that the company needs further investments to be competitive in this economic and global scenario.
Meanwhile, Philipp Plein has been rumored to be looking at Cavalli, but a market source contended that such a deal is unlikely to take place. On the contrary, WWD has learned that investors may have already begun circling the German designer’s fashion house, with an eye to taking a minority or majority stake as Plein prepares to mark 20 years in the business in 2019.
At Cavalli, operating losses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled 7.1 million euros in 2017 compared with a loss of 26.2 million euros in 2016. As of Dec. 31, the company had a positive net financial position of 1.2 million euros.
In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, revenues were down 1.8 percent to 152.4 million euros, compared with 155.2 million euros in 2016, but Ferraris emphasized that the figure stabilized after years of steep declines in the range of about 25 percent each year.