Versace set to be sold in $2bn deal

A Michael Kors store

According to a Bloomberg report, Michael Kors Holding Ltd.is nearing an agreement to buy the Italian fashion house, out-maneuvering several other interested parties.

Michael Kors could not immediately be reached for comment.

Artistic Director of the fashion giant and Vice President of the company said to be worth about $2 billion, Donatella Versace, has reportedly called a meeting in Milan for Tuesday.

Versace founded his namesake company in 1978 in Milan, growing it into an global powerhouse by the time he was gunned down by a serial killer in 1997. The private equity firm plans to sell its stake in the deal, according to a person familiar with the situation.

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Blackstone, whose stake acquisition valued Versace at US$1.4 billion in 2014, declined to comment.

French fashion houses including Paris-based Kering were among those holding talks with the Versace family, the sources said, but considered the price too expensive.

Meanwhile, Michael Kors previously acquired ladies shoe brand Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion a year ago.

The transaction would be meant to position Michael Kors more fully as a competitor to Paris-based LVMH and Kering and the Swiss company Richemont among global heavyweights in luxury across various product lines, analysts said.

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The sale of Italian fashion house Versace could be announced "within hours", daily newspaper Corriere della Sera said on Monday, citing unnamed sources. The shares had recovered since then, trading 15 per cent higher for the year through the end of last week, with Choo boosting the latest quarterly results.

Versace, known for its flamboyant style and Medusa-head logo, hired CEO Jonathan Akeroyd in 2016 from Alexander McQueen.

Versace had planned to float the company on the stock market but put the plans on hold owing to unfavourable conditions.

Models present creations at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring 2019 in Milan on Friday. Donatella serves as creative director, while Santo is chairman. In a tribute to Gianni, Donatella Versace brought back the most iconic looks from his collections spanning the 1990s, including silk blouses mixing leopard prints with images of baroque architecture.

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