Diesel boss to take over Italy fashion house Marni

MILAN Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:02am GMT

Founder of Diesel clothing company Renzo Rosso poses in front of Rialto Bridge in Venice December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

Founder of Diesel clothing company Renzo Rosso poses in front of Rialto Bridge in Venice December 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Manuel Silvestri

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MILAN (Reuters) - Diesel jeans brand founder Renzo Rosso is poised to take over Italy's Marni to relaunch the bohemian-chic fashion house on foreign markets, the company said.

The all-Italian acquisition is a rare case in a luxury industry where most deals are made in France and Asia, and confirms Rosso as a dynamic fashion entrepreneur in Italy.

The rockstar-looking businessman, whose Only The Brave holding controls foreign brands Maison Martin Margiela and Victor & Rolf, also makes clothes under licence for young-focused lines Just Cavalli and DSquared2.

His holding booked revenues of around 1.3 billion euros ($1.72 billion) in 2011, broadly stable on a year before, but core profit margins rose 10 percent to 14.7 percent of sales.

Financial details of the deal are to be announced at a conference on Thursday.

Founded in 1994 by fur businessman Gianni Castiglioni and his Swiss-born designer wife Consuelo, Marni is sold at around 320 shops in the world, including around 100 Marni-branded stores.

Italy is one of the world's biggest fashion producers but its fragmented, family-owned industry has not seen consolidation on the same scale as France.

French luxury giant LVMH (LVMH.PA) bought Rome jeweller Bulgari in 2011, while the Qatari royal family snapped up Valentino for a whopping 700 million euros in July.

"It has proved impossible to conglomerate Italy's luxury brands like France did," Umberto Nicodano, partner of Italy-based law firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo told Reuters.

"The reason: a strong desire of independence of our brands which would have led to issues of governance and valuation."

Marni had long been at the centre of takeover talks.

Rosso, whose holding had a positive net financial position of 133 million euros in 2011, told Reuters in November he had financial resources to make other brand acquisitions.

(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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