UPDATE 1-Permira in talks to buy back Valentino debt-sources
* Valentino owners to invest up to 300 mln euros -sources
* Owners to buy back debt worth about 800 mln euros -sources
* Permira says deal to close within the next couple of days
(Adds no comment from UniCredit and Mediobanca)
FRANKFURT, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Private equity investor Permira [PERM.UL] is in talks to buy back some of the debt it amassed to purchase Italy's Valentino Fashion Group two years ago, sources close to the matter said.
Permira and other shareholders of Valentino Fashion Group plan to invest up to 300 million euros ($452 million) to reduce the Italian fashion house's debt of about 2.2 billion euros by about a third, the sources told Reuters on Friday.
The deal to buy back the debt at a steep discount to face value will close in the next couple of days and will see Citigroup exit the fashion group's lender pool, leaving UniCredit and Mediobanca (MDBI.MI), the sources added.
A spokesman for Permira said a deal was imminent.
UniCredit and Mediobanca declined to comment.
Private equity companies have been hit hard by the financial crisis, which has left many investors nursing heavy losses and is forcing some, particularly newcomers, to reassess their allocations.
The move would underline Permira's commitment to the fashion group and its labels Valentino, Hugo Boss BOSG_p.DE and Marlboro in a difficult market environment.
U.S. consultancy Bain & Co expects global luxury sales to fall 8 percent this year to 153 billion euros as the crisis saps demand for designer clothes, jewellery and watches.
(Reporting by Eva Kuehnen and Simon Meads in London; additional reporting by Jo Winterbottom and in Milan; editing by John Stonestreet, Greg Mahlich) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +49 69 7565 1244; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
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