Members of the Qatari royal family are in advanced talks to buy Valentino, one of the top Italian dressmakers, a British news website reported.
Permira, a London-based private equity firm which owns the Italian label, and the Emir of Qatar are finalising a deal thought to be worth $851.92 million, people close to the deal told Sky News adding it could be announced as soon as this week.
The takeover seems unusual as it is spearheaded by the Qatari royal family instead of Qatar Holding or the Qatar Investment Authority which holds assets worth $100bn under its belt. There are also reports about the acquisition of the M Missoni brand.
Permira acquired 100% control of the Italian business Valentino Fashion Group in 2007 for around $3.87bn. It also has a controlling stake in the publicly-listed German company Hugo Boss. The combined group is held by an entity called Red & Black.
Many luxury goods producers are struggling to maintain sales momentum amidst worsening economic downturn, and have been forced to cut down their size or shut down their operations in recent years.
Permira will continue to own Hugo Boss, sources close to the firm said.
Valentino has won creative acclaim in recent years and is endorsed by celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson.
Qatar has been cashing on its vast financial resources to buy so-called ‘trophy assets’, including top London departmental store Harrods for 2.32bn in 2010. Qatar Holding LLC announced last Tuesday its plans of opening Harrods-branded hotels in top cities around the world.
The Sky News report said Perella Weinberg Partners, an independent financial advisory firm, is understood to be working on behalf of the Qataris to secure the Valentino deal. Permira declined to comment.