Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Why Michael Kors Is on the Verge of Buying Versace

Michael Kors- Lead Andrew Chin Getty Images
| 25 September, 2018, 04:14

"The news of Versace's acquisition by Michael Kors Holdings will come as quite a shock to followers, admirers and customers of the iconic Italian brand, which has always been characterised by its fierce narrative and aesthetic as well as its strong family values and independence", said a note from Euromonitor International analyst Florence Allday. He's not buying a new baroque-inspired coat or redecorating his home with Versace's home collection, but may be buying the entire company for a cool $2 billion, aka the same cost as 493,827 limited edition Palazzo Empire bags.

USA fashion group Michael Kors has agreed to take control of Versace in a deal that could value one of Italy's most prized designers at US$2 billion, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The leader of the pack is every mom's favorite handbag maker, Kors. Michael Kors couldn't immediately be reached.

Versace, known for its flamboyant style and Medusa-head logo, hired chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd in 2016 from Alexander McQueen. She is artistic director of the fashion house.

20 per cent of the brand, known for its Medusa head logo, was bought by USA private equity group Blackstone in 2014, and the family owns the rest.


After investing in Versace at a high multiple, Blackstone found its performance insufficient to justify a market listing, said one of the sources, who is close to the family.

The stock market didn't react well to reports of an impending deal, with Kors shares trading at $66.11 at 11 a.m., down 9 percent. "They needed a buyer who could make heavy investments".

"We believe that some of the work required on Versace, which includes toning down some of the brasher elements of the brand which are now out of step with the more subtle tone preferred by modern consumers, are precisely the issues with which Michael Kors has struggled and is yet to satisfactorily resolve", wrote Saunders in a report. While talks are advanced, no final agreements have been reached, the people said. "It was overpriced", the source said. Donatella Versace holds 20 percent, her brother Santo 30 percent and Donatella's daughter Allegra 50 percent.

A representative for Versace declined to comment on the potential transaction.

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