Michael Kors nears US$2 billion deal to buy Versace

Marcus Newton
September 27, 2018

It also cited rumours saying that the buyer could be USA fashion group Michael Kors Holdings Ltd's (KORS.N) or jeweler Tiffany & Co (TIF.N).

The Italian fashion icon had been considering a market listing after USA private equity group Blackstone bought a 20 percent stake back in 2014 to fund overseas expansion.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth fiscal quarter, subject to regulatory approvals. Kors has been expanding into high-end brands, buying the luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for nearly $1.4 billion previous year.

"[Blackstone] gradually persuaded the family to look into a possible sale and introduced them to a series of buyers, including Michael Kors", the source said. But the deal would help Michael Kors compete against larger rivals.

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Versace, known for its bold and glamorous designs, is one of a clutch of family-owned Italian brands seen as attractive targets at a time when the luxury industry is benefiting from strong demand from China. The Medusa head Italian fashion house drew interest from several companies, but it appears that Kors has reached the most complex negotiations of the bunch.

The purchase would be in line with Michael Kors' strategic goal of aggregating various high-end brands - including fashion, shoes and accessories - under one group.

Last year, the American group bought Jimmy Choo - whose stilettos were made famous by TV series Sex and the City - for $1.35bn. A spokesman for Blackstone had no immediate comment. The Versace family is reported to want to continue its involvement. The company had been working toward an initial public offering, though market conditions haven't allowed it to move ahead. Donatella serves as creative director, while Santo is chairman. The 40-year-old fashion house returned to profit in 2017 and reported revenue of almost $800 million. In a tribute to Gianni, Donatella Versace brought back the most iconic looks from his collections spanning the 1990s, including silk blouses mixing leopard prints with images of baroque architecture.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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