Investment group Fung Brands from Hong Kong has acquired 80% of the shares of the French fashion company Sonia Rykiel for an undisclosed amount. The founding family keeps the remaining 20%, but cedes control to the Chinese group.
Going for the major markets
Under the influence of Sonia's daughter Nathalie Rykiel, the fashion company wanted to enter major markets like the US and China, but lacked the necessary funding. After apparently turning down LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), PPR (Pinault Printemps Redoute) and Richemont, the Rykiel family went for Fung Brands to become the leading fashion brand of the group.
Fung Brands, already owner of Belgian luxury leather producer Delvaux, is also one of the largest suppliers of slightly more down-to-earth giants like Walmart and Marks & Spencer through their Li & Fung company.
Fashion 'habitué' takes over
After the acquisition, Jean-Marc Loubier will take command of the company that was founded in 1968 by students who were fed up with stiff bourgeois fashion. Loubier has already worked for fashion companies like Louis Vuitton and Escada. Unlike Nathalie Rykiel, her stylist April Chrichton will not be replaced by the new owners.
Hermès is now the only luxury group that is still almost completely in
French hands, as its founding family holds almost almost 63% of the
shares. Sonia Rykiel had a turnover of 90 million in 2011, gathered through
1,700 stores in 30 countries.