Roberto Cavalli Is Closer To A Sale, Philipp Plein Said To Be Eyeing Brand

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MILAN — Last summer 2018, DM Fashion Book reported that luxury Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli was opened to new investors. The house’s owners are taking stock of the performance of the brand and are liking what they see, according to market sources. As a result, Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR, which took control of the Florence-based brand in 2015, is said to be open to bringing in other investors to inject fresh capital and expand the fashion house (see it here).

Clessidra SGR SpA acquired 90 percent of the label in 2015, while Roberto Cavalli will retain the remaining 10% of his company (see it here).

In the most recent news, we could exclusively report that a Roberto Cavalli sale is approaching. And from the looks of it, Philipp Plein could be the new owner.

The deadline to submit offers for a minority or a majority stake in the Roberto Cavalli firm was set for Jan. 31. However, sources say the deadline is flexible and bound to be extended into the first few days of February.

A Milan-based source said a Cavalli board meeting is expected to be scheduled in 10 days to evaluate the offers. Designer Philipp Plein is rumored to be especially keen to take control of the brand and eyeing to overhaul it, leaving his own mark on the label.

One source said Plein is “obsessed” with the brand. “It’s not surprising, he is the true heir of [founder] Roberto Cavalli, he shares his same lifestyle” and jet-set attitude, transposed to the Aughts, said the source.

Plein’s company is also at the center of mergers and acquisitions speculation, with investors said to range from Permira to Carlyle circling the German designer’s fashion house. In one post on Instagram, Plein scoffed at a Il Sole 24 Ore daily’s report in December that the company could be sold for 700 million euros. “I know what I bring to the table……..for this amount I do not even sit at the table to discuss,” he wrote.

In December, as reported, market sources contended that around 10 “interested parties” had made contact with Rothschild, the adviser tapped by Cavalli’s owner, Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR, to find a buyer for a stake in the company.

Last December 2018, we reported that Italian fashion designer and OTB Group‘s President Renzo Rosso, was interested in buying Roberto Cavalli through his OTB holding companyIl Sole 24 Ore (see it here) but sources said the group may have not actually submitted an offer. OTB’s Staff International is Just Cavalli’s licensee.

OTB Group is the parent company of Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Paula Cademartori, Viktor & Rolf, Staff International and Brave Kid.

In 2018, Forbes indicated Rosso as the 10th richest man in Italy (with an estimated asset of $4.1 billion).

Sources say Tapestry Inc., parent company of Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade (see it here), also has looked at Cavalli’s dossier, without submitting an offer. As reported, Tapestry may be eyeing possible M&A targets and has not ruled out looking overseas for the company’s next transaction.

An unidentified Chinese fund is also said to be interested.

Clessidra has been looking to exit the fashion business, according to sources. In May 2016, Italmobiliare SpA, the publicly listed investment group owned by the Pesenti family took control of Clessidra for roughly 20 million euros. Italmobiliare holds and manages a diversified portfolio of investments and equity interests worth more than 2 billion euros.

Chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris has spearheaded the turnaround of Cavalli since his arrival in May 2016. Last month, presenting a new residential project in Bahrain, Ferraris said the company needs further investments to compete in the current scenario.

In May 2017Paul Surridge was appointed the new creative director of the brand, succeeding Peter Dundas (see it here).

In 2017, Cavalli revenues were down 1.8 percent to 152.4 million euros, compared with 155.2 million euros in 2016.

When Clessidra bought Cavalli, financial details were not disclosed, but market sources estimated that the brand was purchased for between 380 million euros and 400 million euros. The deal was completed by a new company called Varenne, controlled by Clessidra, but including L-GAM and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd.

Founder and designer Roberto Cavalli himself retains a 10 percent stake in the firm, but he has eased out of the fashion industry.

Photos Credit:  Marcus Tondo

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of For all general inquiries please email Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.