International

Qatari Investor Group Agrees to Acquire Italian Fashion House Valentino

An investment vehicle backed by the emirate's royal family is believed to be paying $857 million.

LONDON - An investor group from Qatar has agreed to acquire Italian fashion house Valentino Fashion Group, the companies said Thursday.

Mayhoola, an investment vehicle backed by the emirate's royal family, has agreed to buy Valentino from private equity firm Permira and the Marzotto family, which have owned it through a company called Red & Black since 2007.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but Mayhoola is widely believed to be paying 700 million euros ($857 million).

The MCS Marlboro Classics business is staying with Red & Black, which will also continue to own a majority stake in Hugo Boss.

“Valentino  has always been a brand of unique creativity and undisputed prestige," Mayhoola said in a  statement. "We are impressed by the work of the two creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, and by the management team led by [CEO] Stefano Sassi. Their ability to blend the aesthetic values of the founder, Valentino Garavani, with a contemporary and sophisticated vision, has been instrumental in enhancing the brand’s relevance and establishing a platform with significant future potential."

The company added: "Our vision is to back management for the long term to exploit the full potential of this exciting brand. We believe Valentino is ideally suited to form the basis for a global luxury goods powerhouse.”

Said Sassi: “We are delighted with this development. During the past few years, despite swings in the luxury markets, the company has operated with great intensity and remained focused on maximizing the potential  of the Valentino  brand. This effort  should  drive a 60 percent increase in revenues from 2009 to 2012."

Valentino's revenue rose 23 percent in the first half of 2012  over the same period in 2011, the company said.

The companies didn't detail when the transaction is expected to close.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai