Style :: Fashion

Italian Designer Valentino Purchased by Qatari Buyers

by ADAM SCHRECK
Thursday Jul 19, 2012
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Qatari investors outlined plans to acquire the Italian fashion house Valentino, adding to the Gulf state’s growing stable of premium brands.

Valentino is famous for its trademark red hue and several decades’ worth of celebrity customers, ranging from Jacqueline Kennedy to Sarah Jessica Parker.

An investment firm called Mayhoola for Investments will acquire Valentino Fashion Group from Red & Black Lux, which is controlled by European private equity firm Permira, the companies said in a statement.

The deal includes VFG’s Valentino and M Missoni businesses.

Permira gained control of the Italian clothing company as part of its 2007 investment in Hugo Boss. It will continue to own a majority stake in the German fashion house and the MCS Marlboro Classics line, which are not part of the Qatar deal.

VFG runs more than 700 boutiques and has operations in more than 90 countries, according to its website.

Valentino is famous for its trademark red hue and several decades’ worth of celebrity customers, ranging from Jacqueline Kennedy to Sarah Jessica Parker.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Valentino described Mayhoola as "an investment vehicle backed by a major private investor group from Qatar." Little is known about the company, though the Qatari ruling family has used unknown investment arms in the past.

Qatar’s emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, holds near-absolute power in the OPEC member nation, and the most high-profile of his wives, Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, is known to appreciate haute couture.

Mayhoola expressed support for the company’s existing leadership and creative directors, suggesting it does not plan major changes to the brand.

"Our vision is to back management for the long term to exploit the full potential of this exciting brand. We believe Valentino is ideally suited to form the basis for a global luxury goods powerhouse," the company said in a statement announcing the deal.

Natural gas-rich Qatar has increasingly been pumping cash into prominent Western luxury brands, though many of those purchases were done using the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Its holdings include London’s Harrods department store, as well as stakes in New York-based jeweler Tiffany & Co. and French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

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