Italy’s leading private equity firm Clessidra sgr signed a definitive agreement to acquire a 90% equity stake in the Florentine maison Roberto Cavalli together with minority coinvestors L-GAM fund and Chinese Chow Tai Fook Entreprises Ltd, a Hong Kong-based holding company owned by the Cheng family. The deal will be conducted through a newco called Varenne which is controlled by Clessidra sgr. The founder Roberto Cavalli will hold the remaining 10% (download here the press release).
The announcement came yesterday after exlusive talks started last December (see a previous post by BeBeez). Exclusive talks with Clessidra came in turn few weeks after VTB Capital, the investment arm of Russian lender VTB Bank, pulled back from a deal that had been already taken for granted. Previous egotiations fell apart first with Permira and then with Investcorp, while Clessidra itself five years ago tried to come to a deal with Roberto Cavalli but had no success.
Roberto Cavalli is one of the most important Italian fashion brands known worldwide. Founded in Florence in the seventies, the company has become a brand of reference in the international luxury goods market, thanks to an extensive network of about 200 mono-brand boutiques.
Besides its high-end line “Roberto Cavalli”, the brand also designs the young casual “Just Cavalli”, the bridge line “Cavalli Class”, and the kids “Roberto Cavalli Junior” collections. All these women’s and men’s collections are complemented with a wide range of licensed products, including bags, sunglasses, watches, shoes, jewellery, and a fragrance line. Roberto Cavalli also signs an internationally renowned “Home Collection” and is active in the hospitality sector through its network of Cavalli Clubs and Cavalli Cafes.
In 2014, the company increased its consolidated turnover to approximately 210 million euros from 201 millions in 2013, when reached 22.4 million euros of ebitda. As for 2014’s margins, some months ago the maison said that ebitda in 2014 should be in line with the 2013′s one after adjustments due to problems caused by some licensees entered into legal proceedings.
Financial details of the deal have not been revealed but Reuters writes that Roberto Cavalli should have been valued about 380-390 million euros that is about 16x its 2014’s ebitda. Negotiations fell apart first with Permira and then with Investcorp on a 450 million euro evaluation (enterprise value) or more than 20x Cavalli’s 2013 ebitda. VTB was instead initially evaluating Cavalli 830 million euros (or 37x its 2013 ebitda) and was then was finally expected to buy a 70% stake in the Florentine company for 400 million euros.
Clessidra’s Executive Vice-Chairman Francesco Trapani will be the Chairman of Roberto Cavalli spa.. Previously, he was the ceo of Bulgari for over 25 years, then ceo of the Watch and Jewellery Division at Lvmh. Renato Semerari will be the company ceo. Until today, Semerari served as President of the New York Stock Exchange-listed multinational Coty Group. Prior to joining Coty, Semerari served as the ceo of Guerlain and as the President and ceo of Sephora Europe, both companies of the Lvmh group. Norwegian designer Peter Dundas was appointed as creative director at Roberto Cavalli last March.
The closing of the deal, which is the first investment carried out through the third Clessidra sgr’s managed fund Clessidra Capital Partners 3, is expected within the upcoming weeks. Law firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo and financial advisors Bnl BnpParibas assisted Roberto Cavalli spa, Credit Suisse supported Mr. Roberto Cavallli, Banca Imi and Gattai, Minoli, Agostinelli & Partners law firm respectively were the financial and legal advisor to Clessidra sgr. LMS acted as legal advisors to L-GAM, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd was supported by Citi.