The Versace family is negotiating a possible sale of 20 % of the Italian fashion label’s shares. IQ Made in Italy Venture, a fund with Qatar Holding participation, seems the most likely candidate. The deal would value the Milanese fashion label at 850 million euro.
International expansion and IPO
IQ Made in Italy Venture is a joint venture between Fondo Strategico Italiano and the Qatari state holding. The collaboration envisions a 2 billion euro investment into Italian fashion, food, design and tourism.
It is no secret that the Versace family has been looking for an international, wealthy partner to speed up the brand’s expansion and to help prepare the company for an IPO within the next three years.
IQ Made in Italy is apparently in ‘pole position’ according to sources close to the story, but others might still intervene. Investcorp, a Bahraini fund that sold Gucci, also wants a 20 % participation in Versace, just like investment fund Blackstone and Parisian group Ardian. London-based Permira has apparently lost out on the shares.
Decision by the end of the year
Ever since Gianni Versace was murdered in 1997, the shares have been spread over three family members: Brother Santo Versace has 30 %, sister Donatella 20 % and her daughter, Allegra, has the remaining 50 %. Last week, Versace-president Santo Versace expressed the family’s wish to reach a decision before the end of the year.
Versace’s 2012 turnover was 408.7 million euro, a 20 % increase compared to 2011. Donatella Versace may be the recognizable face of the company, but an ‘outsider’ is the actual leader: Versace's CEO is Gian Giacomo Ferraris, arriving in 2009 from Jill Sander.
(Translated by Gary Peeters)