Michael Kors is close to buying Versace for $2 billion


The Italian fashion icon has been considering a market listing after USA private equity group Blackstone bought a 20 per cent stake back in 2014 to fund overseas expansion, although chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd told Reuters earlier this year there was no rush for a market debut.

Michael Kors, whose namesake label is best known for its leather handbags, has made no secret of its ambition to grow its portfolio of high-end brands after swooping on British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion previous year.

Milanese fashion house Versace is close to being bought out by U.S. luxury fashion firm Michael Kors in a deal worth around $2billion (£1.53billion), according to reports in the Italian press.

Donatella Versace is the brand's creative driver.

Versace could not immediately confirm the news to AFP.

The stock market didn't react well to reports of an impending deal, with Kors shares trading at $66.11 at 11 a.m., down 9 percent. Now, it's vying with Coach owner Tapestry Inc to build a US-based multibrand fashion empire along the lines of Paris-based conglomerates LVMH and Kering SA.

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The sale of Versace, which is known for its Medusa head logo, was sealed on Monday, three sources familiar with the talks confirmed to Reuters. Both companies have declined to comment on the matter for now, however. Versace has been pushing for an initial public offering, or IPO, but they failed to reach the goal due to a fluctuating market.

Kors, whose shares are listed in NY, alarmed investors earlier this year when it reported a decline in retail sales under its main brand in the Americas, even as the smaller European and Asian markets fared better.

She holds a 20 per cent stake in the company, her daughter Allegra has a 50 per cent stake, while Santo, Donatella's brother, holds the remaining 30 per cent.

Since Akeroyd's appointment in 2016, Versace has been working on streamlining its management structure, cutting costs and pushing to increase sales online.

LVMH, PVH Corp. and Tapestry also looked at Versace in recent months, according to a report on Sunday by Women's Wear Daily.

Versace was founded by Gianni Versace in 1978.