x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Qatar 'in talks' to buy fashion chain Valentino

Qatar’s royal family is reported to be in advanced talks to purchase the Italian fashion chain Valentino for £550 millio.

Qatar’s royal family is reported to be in advanced talks to purchase the Italian fashion chain Valentino for £550 million (Dh3.12 billion).

The designer label, popular among celebrities such as Keira Knightley and Jennifer Aniston, is owned by Permira, a private-equity firm in London, which is looking to offload the business.

“Valentino has seen increasing interest from a number of potential buyers,” Stefano Sassi, the chief executive of Valentino Fashion Group, told The National.

“The outstanding work and stylistic vision of creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli and the constant growth of company’s results have generated great attention towards the brand,” Mr Sassi said.

Permira said an “exclusivity” had been granted to a potential buyer that had expressed interest in the long-term potential of the brand. That agreement was expected to expire this month.

Sky News in the United Kingdom reported the Qatari royal family was the front-runner to buy the fashion brand and that the deal could also include the M Missoni brand. Sky said the sovereign wealth funds Qatar Holding and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) were not involved in the potential buyout.

In 2007, a company backed by Permira funding acquired a controlling stake in the publicly listed German company Hugo Boss and 100 per cent of Valentino, including its licences division, Marlboro Classics and M Missoni. The total acquisition was valued at €5.3bn (Dh23.91bn).

The fashion group operates in more than 100 countries, with about 1,600 single-brand boutiques and 500 directly managed shops.

Qatar and its investment entities have holdings in the retail and consumer industries throughout the world.

In April, QIA bought a 5 per cent stake in the US-listed luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co, which is renowned for its diamond rings.

Qatar Holding, established by QIA in 2006, owns Harrods department store in London and announced last week that it would expand the brand overseas, opening Harrods hotels around the world, including in Kuala Lumpur, New York, Paris and in cities in China. Qatar Holding also has stakes in the UK supermarket chain J Sainsburyand Germany’s Volkswagen.

rjones@thenational.ae

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