Roberto Cavalli said to approach Bahrain’s Investcorp over investment

Italian designer approached Gulf firm as potential buyer of stake in his fashion brand, source says

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Italian designer Roberto Cavalli has approached Gulf investment firm Investcorp as a potential buyer for a stake in his fashion brand, a source at the Gulf investment firm said.

Following the example of rival Italian labels Versace and Valentino, founder-owned fashion firm Cavalli has for some time been looking for a partner or a buyer to bring in new funds.


The group, famous for its colourful animal prints, came close last month to the sale of a majority stake to buyout firm Permira.

Another source said talks with Permira, which bid for a minority stake in Versace last year and previously bought and then sold Valentino, have stalled for the moment. A third source also said the talks had run into problems.

Talks between Cavalli and Investcorp, which has owned Gucci in the past and was also a bidder for the 20 percent stake in Versace, are at a preliminary stage and nothing has been decided, the first source said.

“We’ve been approached by Cavalli as they believe we would be a credible buyer,” a source at Bahrain-based Investcorp said.

He added that the Gulf investment firm has yet to carry out in-depth analysis of the company and besides some industry research which was carried out earlier this year when it was negotiating with Versace, no other work has been done so far.

Control of the company appeared to be concentrating in the hands of the mercurial 73 year-old earlier this year, as Chief Executive Gianluca Brozzetti and Chief Operating Officer Carlo di Biagio both left their roles.

Cavalli’s son Daniele had been creative director for the menswear line, but Cavalli said before his latest men’s show in Milan in January that he had designed that collection himself.

Cavalli, Investcorp and Permira declined to comment.

Analysts and bankers have put a potential sale value of 450 million euros on Cavalli's company, higher than valuations seen in the Versace deal but well below the 31.5 EBITDA multiple paid by Qatar's royal family to buy Valentino from Permira in 2012.

The Versace stake was eventually sold to U.S. private equity firm Blackstone for 210 million euros ($286.7 million) in February.

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