Michael Kors set to snap up Italy's Versace

Ivan Schwartz
September 24, 2018

Corriere della Sera reported Monday, without citing sources, that the announcement could come as early as Tuesday.

USA fashion group Michael Kors has agreed to take control of Versace in a deal that could value one of Italy's most prized designers at US$2 billion, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Rumours of an IPO have resurfaced since the company sold a 20 per cent stake to private equity giant Blackstone in 2014.

It also cited rumours saying that the buyer could be U.S. fashion group Michael Kors Holdings or jeweler Tiffany & Co.

There was no immediate comment from either of the fashion companies. Bloomberg and Reuters news agencies later reported the buyer would be fashion group Michael Kors. Kors is also trying to purchase Coach owner Tapestry Inc. And it comes as the Michael Kors business still hasn't been turned around, despite some progress made. In 2016, it took major steps to protect its brand equity by pulling back its wholesale inventory levels at certain department stores that were diluting its brand by selling its products at deep discounts.

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Weber, who has a four-decade career working with top retail brands such as Calvin Klein, Phillips Van Heusen and Donna Karen, says the overall luxury sector has limited growth and the only way for it to grow is by greater distribution. No matter what happens to the Versace brand, the Versace family will be involved within the company regardless.

She holds a 20 per cent stake in the company, her daughter Allegra has a 50 per cent stake, while Santo, Donatella's brother, holds the remaining 30 per cent.

The fashion house, founded by designer Gianni Versace in 1978, posted sales of €686 million in 2017 with net profits of €15 million.

Models present creations at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring 2019 in Milan on Friday.

Versace founded his namesake company in 1978 in Milan, growing it into an global powerhouse by the time he was gunned down by a serial killer in 1997.

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