Friday, 16 November, 2018

Michael Kors to Acquire Versace, Sources Reveal

Neilson Barnard  Getty Images Fans are begging Donatella Versace not to sell the company to Michael Kors Neilson Barnard Getty Images Fans are begging Donatella Versace not to sell the company to Michael Kors
Cristina Norman | 25 September, 2018, 04:14

Michael Kors may announce a deal as early as this week that values Versace at about US$2 billion (NZ$3.1 billion), said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera first broke the news on the potential $2 billion purchase price for the brand founded by Gianni Versace forty years ago.

Donatella Versace, sister of late founder Gianni who doubles as artistic director and vice-president of the Milan-based group, has called a staff meeting for Tuesday, according to a person who was briefed by a company employee.

Shares in New York-listed Michael Kors, which past year acquired show brand Jimmy Choo for £896million, fell by more than 8 per cent on the rumours. Now, it's vying with Coach owner Tapestry to build a US-based multibrand fashion empire along the lines of Paris-based conglomerates LVMH and Kering. The Versace family is reported to want to continue its involvement. "I believe he is going to create some sort of brand diffusion with the essence of Versace's DNA".

Versace, known for its bold and glamorous designs and its Medusa head logo, is one of a clutch of family-owned Italian brands cited as attractive targets at a time when the luxury industry is riding high on strong demand from China. But the deal would help Michael Kors compete against larger rivals.

Blackstone, whose stake acquisition valued Versace at US$1.4 billion in 2014, declined to comment. Michael Kors and private equity firm Blackstone, which owns 20% of Versace, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Versace had planned to float the company on the stock market but put the plans on hold owing to unfavourable conditions. Tiffany & Co. LVMH, PVH Corp. and Tapestry have all shown interest in purchasing Versace.

Last year it returned to a net profit of just under 15 million euros compared with a net loss of 7.9 million euros the previous year. Actress Goldie Hawn and her daughter Kate Hudson were in the front row. 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.

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