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Michael Kors agrees to buy Versace for €1.83 billion

26 September 2018

Kors will rename his company along with Versace as Capri Holdings.

Ms Versace said: "This is a very exciting moment for Versace".

Versace is the latest Made-in-Italy name to be snapped up by a foreign company after Rome-based Fendi, celebrity jeweller Bulgari and cashmere maker Loro Piana were all bought by LVMH. It has been more than 20 years since I took over the company along with my brother Santo and daughter Allegra.

The luxury brand, founded by Gianni Versace in 1978 and now helmed by his sister Donatella, sells high-end goods that often sell for five times as much as Michael Kors' sportswear items, says The Associated Press.

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US private equity firm Blackstone, which bought 20 percent of Versace for 210 million euros in 2014, will make a 156 million euro capital gain by exiting its investment, Reuters calculations show.

Bloomberg via Getty Images A man carries a Gianni Versace SpA branded shopping bag at a store in Milan on September 24, 2018. It also plans to raise the share of higher-margin accessories and footwear to 60 per cent of sales from 35 per cent.

Though sales at Versace have been growing stronger recently, the business had been sputtering. "But Michael Kors could bring much-needed modernisation to the label in an era when sexy doesn't sell quite like it used to, and perceived Italian rival Gucci continues to innovate, winning the attention and spend of younger, globally minded shoppers". It's still trying rebuild its reputation after broadly distributing its products to department stores and outlet malls, which damaged the brand's image.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the deal and name change signalled the group's intention to become a luxury powerhouse, and would give the business a better worldwide reach, particularly in Europe and Asia.

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The deal could also mean that those iconic $2,000-a-pop Versace gold-colored jackets once worn only by Hollywood elites, including Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Madonna, may soon become more affordable. "All that said, we maintain our view that Versace is not a ideal operation", Saunders said. "This will absorb both time and money from the group and has to be done in tandem with the ongoing efforts to put Michael Kors firmly on the right track".

The deal is expected to close in the fourth fiscal quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

Michael Kors on Madison Avenue, New York.

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Michael Kors agrees to buy Versace for €1.83 billion