(Adds source on talks under way)
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
MILAN Jan 15 Italian designer Roberto Cavalli
said he had agreed to sell a minority stake in his fashion house
to private equity company Clessidra, business daily Il Sole 24
Ore reported on Thursday.
"I am close to signing a preliminary (agreement) for the
sale of a minority stake to the Clessidra fund," Cavalli was
quoted as saying by Il Sole 24 Ore.
Cavalli, known for his bold prints and flowing dresses, said
he planned to sell a stake of 15 percent to 20 percent.
"Nothing more," he said. "(The idea is to) list ourselves on
the market between three and four years," he said.
He did not say how much the stake was worth.
A source close to the matter confirmed talks between Cavalli
and Clessidra were ongoing.
"There is contact (between the two). It is difficult to say
whether this is the real thing -- there will be due diligence, a
valuation and we will see," the source said.
Clessidra and a Cavalli spokeswoman were not immediately
available for comment.
Cavalli had decided against doing a deal with private equity
companies because of a disagreement over valuation, Il Sole 24
The companies had offered a price equivalent to between 10
and 11 times the house's earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), while Cavalli wanted 16
times, it said.
Cavalli had estimated his fashion house was worth 1.4
billion euros ($1.84 billion), 16 times its 2007 earnings before
EBITDA, the newspaper said.
In September, the designer, who counts the Spice Girls among
his fans, told Reuters he did not need to do a sale and would
Italian fashion companies, often still run by the founding
families, are under pressure to bring in outside capital or
management as competition mounts from major luxury conglomerates
such as France's LVMH (LVMH.PA).
IT Holding ITH.MI, owner of Gianfranco Ferre, has said it
intended to complete a deal with China's Mensun, with whom it
was locked in exclusive discussions until Dec. 31.[ID:nLT599636]
Its chief executive has been given the go-ahead to continue
talks and explore other deals.
Salvatore Ferragamo in November reiterated that markets
needed to stabilise for the luxury brand to work on a bourse
(Reporting by Gilles Castonguay, Marie-Louise Gumuchian and
Massimo Gaia; Editing by Andrew Macdonald and Rupert Winchester)