Dubai’s Damac Officially Closes Roberto Cavalli Deal

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MILAN — In July 2019, DM Fashion Book confirmed that¬†Dubai-based property developer¬†Damac¬†is the new owner of the¬†Roberto Cavalli brand (see it here). The announcement also confirmed our original article, published in June 2019, that Damac¬†emerged as the investor most likely to buy the house (see it here).

On Thursday (29th November 2019), Italian fashion house¬†Roberto Cavalli¬†was bought by Hussain Sajwani, the chairman of Dubai‘s Damac Properties, the companies said, ending a long sale process.

The Florence-based group, founded by designer Roberto Cavalli in the early 1970s and famed for its animal prints, had been struggling for years to relaunch its sales and gain visibility in an industry that is increasingly dominated by large cash-rich conglomerates.

Damac‘s Sajwani bought Cavalli through his private investment company Vision Investments, part of the DICO Group, which owns luxury resorts and hotels and shopping malls, a statement said.

DICO Group said the deal was a significant step in the group’s strategy and was an evolution of a partnership signed back in 2017, under which Cavalli would develop the interiors for some luxury hotels.

DICO said it would ensure the stability of Cavalli‘s management.

Italian private equity firm Clessidra took over Cavalli in 2015 in a bid to turn it around, but after two years started looking for a new investor as the fund holding the stake was close to its statutory investment limit and there was no sign of a recovery by the group, sources said at the time.

Cavalli received a total of five offers. Three offers were binding for 100 percent of the company. Another binding offer was made to purchase unspecified company assets, while a fifth party submitted a nonbinding expression of interest.

April 2019, DM Fashion Book reported that a spokesperson said the company’s U.S. subsidiary, operating under the ArtFashion Corp. moniker, is filing for Chapter 7 (see it here).

This follows the announcement that day that¬†Roberto Cavalli¬†SpA‚Äôs board had decided to file a restructuring plan with the¬†Court of Milan¬†that would allow it to continue to operate while holding discussions with creditors under the so-called process of¬† ‚Äúcomposition with creditors.‚ÄĚ

On the evening of March 29, all U.S. stores ceased operations, going out of business starting from the following day. Merchandise and store keys were taken into custody by a security company and handed over to the trustee.

On April 1, 2019, news broke that Paul Surridge has resigned, leaving his role as creative director of the Roberto Cavalli brand (see it here).

In December 2018, we reported that¬†Italian¬†fashion designer and¬†OTB Group‚Äės President¬†Renzo Rosso, was interested in buying¬†Roberto Cavalli¬†through his¬†OTB holding company,¬†Il Sole 24 Ore¬†(see it¬†here).¬†OTB‚Äôs¬†Staff International¬†is¬†Just Cavalli‚Äôs licensee, so the¬† investment would also have made sense for¬†OTB.¬†Renzo Rosso‚Äôs¬†OTB¬†is parent of brands such as¬†Diesel,¬†Marni,¬†Maison Margiela¬†and just recently the¬†Amiri¬†brand (see it¬†here).

The New York-based Marquee Brands, whose portfolio includes Ben Sherman, Bruno Magli, Body Glove, BCBG Max Azria, BCBGeneration and the Dakine athletic brand, was also another interested party.

According to market sources, Bluestar Alliance, which has investments in Tahari, Bebe and Catherine Malandrino, continued to look at Cavalli and presented an offer.

February 2019, we exclusively report that a Roberto Cavalli sale is approaching. And from the looked of it, Philipp Plein wanted to be the new owner (see it here).

Congrats to Hussain Sajwani and his¬†Dubai‘s Damac Properties for buying Roberto Cavalli SpA.

Photos Credit: Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli

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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.