A member of the ruling family of Ajman made a formal takeover bid for the Christian Lacroix, giving the French fashion house a much needed funding boost four months after it filed for bankruptcy protection. Leon Falic, the president of the Falic Fashion Group which is selling the couturier, said the offer was filed by Sheikh Hassan bin Ali, a nephew of Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, the Ruler of Ajman, in the competition tribunal in France. He would not confirm the value of the bid, but it is reported to be around ?70 million (Dhmn). "It's sad for us on one side, because there was an emotional attachment to the brand, but happy because it is going to the right hands and will be developed," said Mr Falic in a phone interview. The Christian Lacroix company has never made a profit since it set up by Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of the luxury retail conglomerate LVMH in 1997. In 2005, it was sold to the US duty-free retailer Falic. However, as the luxury market took a downturn, Christian Lacroix's sales lagged, and the firm filed for bankruptcy protection in June. Mr Falic said the tribunal, which is meeting on October 20, is likely to approve of the takeover bid because of Sheikh Hassan's pledge to keep the company's 125 employees on staff, and invest "a lot" of capital in building the brand. Mr Falic added that Sheikh Hassan's bid has received the blessing of Mr Lacroix himself. "The designer himself is very excited, and his excitement has been spread around to everyone else," Mr Falic said. Sheikh Hassan plans to keep the whole company intact including both ready to wear and haute couture ? one of the deciding factors in accepting his bid, said Mr Falic. "When we heard we got his interest, we dropped all our discussions with everyone else," said Mr Falic. "He can buy it and develop it the way it should be developed."
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