OTB Officially Confirms Interest In Buying Jil Sander

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MILAN, ITALYIn December 2020, D.M. Fashion Book reported that Renzo Rosso, founder of OTB, was looking to acquire German fashion house Jil Sander (see it here).

The Jil Sander brand could soon be controlled by an Italian group.

OTB confirmed to WWD that it is interested in acquiring the Jil Sander brand and is conducting due diligence.

Jil Sander is controlled by Onward Holdings Co. Ltd., the Tokyo-listed apparel group, which bought the brand in 2008 from London-based private equity company Change Capital Partners for 167 million euros.

At the time we reported the original story, according to a Milan-based source, Onward Holdings has tapped Nomura as adviser and OTB is said to be in exclusive talks with the Japanese group.

While not confirming a specific target, in a statement sent to WWD at the time, OTB said “it is true that we are evaluating different opportunities and companies currently on the market. We want to increase our critical mass and we want to do it in a modern and sustainable way, firstly supporting and strengthening the pipeline, and in general the Made in Italy [initiative], as we did all throughout this pandemic, consistently with the strategic vision of the group and of our entrepreneur,” referring to Rosso.

Through a management buyout, entrepreneur Franco Pené, together with Fabio Ducci and Antonello Orunesu Preiata, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of OLG, respectively, took full control of the company, renaming it HIM Co SpAHigh Italian Manufacturing. Under the agreement, the company also becomes parent to handbag and small leather goods manufacturer Frassineti Srl and fine knitwear manufacturer Erika Srl.

In 2019, we reported that OTB brought a minor stake in Mike Amiri‘s namesake brand (see it here). While growing Diesel into a global sportswear brand over the years, Rosso has been building a diversified fashion group under OTBRosso purchased a majority stake in Maison Margiela in 2002, appointing John Gallino creative director in 2014 (see it here). In 2008, he acquired a majority stake in Viktor & Rolf and in 2012 (to be sure, in 2019, OTB raised its stake in the brand to 70%) , he bought Marni, in 2015 taking full control of the brand, naming Francesco Risso creative director, after the exit of founder Consuelo Castiglioni in 2016 (see it here).

The group also controls manufacturing arm Brave KidStaff International, based in Italy’s Veneto region was bought by Rosso in 2000, and produces and distributes collections for Dsquared2, among others.

OTB also bought accessories company Paula Cademartori in 2016.

Renzo Rosso was interested in buying luxury fashion house Roberto Cavalli through his OTB holding companyIl Sole 24 Ore (see it here). Staff International, under the OTB umbrella, is Just Cavalli’s licensee, and its parent company presented an expression of interest with a recapitalization of 164 million euros, according to a court filing to request a restructuring plan with creditors presented at the time by Cavalli. The brand was eventually sold to the founder and chairman of Dubai-based Damac PropertiesHussain Sajwani in 2019 (see it here).

Jil Sander is now designed by Luke and Lucie Meier, who took over the company’s creative direction in 2017 (see it here) after Rodolfo Paglialunga’s three-year stint. The Meiers have been developing a clear, focused vision for the brand by reworking its signature minimalism with a poetic, warm and very personal attitude, mainly conveyed through artisanal details and unique materials.

Jil Sander was founded in HamburgGermany, in 1968 by the namesake designer, who rose to fame in the Eighties and Nineties with her tailored basics crafted from luxurious fabrics, selling her company to the Prada Group in 1999. Sander herself left the brand six months later after clashes with Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli, only to be lured back again in May 2003 — then to leave again in November 2004, and return in 2012, eventually leaving for good in 2013.

She was succeeded by Milan Vukmirovic, who did sporty disco flash until Sander returned in May 2003. After her second departure, the brand’s creative reins were handed over to its longstanding design team. Prada then tapped Raf Simons as Sander’s new creative director in 2005. He exited in 2012.

Prada sold the company to Change Capital Partners in 2006.

Photos Credit: Jil Sander

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