Milan, Italy : Michael Kors Holdings Limited (NYSE:KORS), a global fashion luxury group, announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Italian luxury fashion house Gianni Versace S.p.A. for a total enterprise value of Euro 1.83 billion or approximately US$2.12 billion. Versace, long recognized as one of the world’s leading luxury fashion companies, is synonymous with Italian glamour and style.
U.S. fashion group Michael Kors (KORS.N) has agreed to buy Versace in a deal valuing the revered designer at $2 billion including debt, the companies said on Tuesday, making it the latest Italian brand to fall into foreign hands.
Michael Kors, whose namesake label is best known for its leather handbags, has made no secret of its ambition to grow its portfolio of high-end brands after buying British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion last year.
Versace, known for its bold and glamorous designs and its Medusa head logo, was one of a clutch of family-owned Italian brands cited as attractive targets at a time when the luxury industry is riding high on strong demand from China.
John D. Idol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Michael Kors Holdings Limited, said, “The acquisition of Versace is an important milestone for our group. Versace was founded in 1978. For over 40 years, Versace has represented the epitome of Italian fashion luxury, a testament to the brand’s timeless heritage. We are excited to have Versace as part of our family of luxury brands, and we are committed to investing in its growth. With the full resources of our group, we believe that Versace will grow to over US$2.0 billion in revenues. We believe that the strength of the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo brands, and the acquisition of Versace, position us to deliver multiple years of revenue and earnings growth.”
Mr. Idol continued, “Donatella’s iconic style is at the heart of the design aesthetic of Versace. She will continue to lead the company’s creative vision. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Donatella on Versace’s next chapter of growth.”
As part of the deal, Michael Kors agreed to buy all of Versace’s outstanding shares for a total enterprise value of 1.83 billion euros ($2.2 billion), to be funded in cash, debt and shares in Michael Kors Holding Ltd, which will be renamed Capri Holdings Ltd.
U.S. private equity firm Blackstone, which bought 20 percent of Versace back in 2014, will fully exit its investment.
The Versace family, which currently owns 80 percent of the fashion house via a holding company called Givi, will receive 150 million euros of the purchase price in Capri shares.
“This is a very exciting moment for Versace,” said Donatella Versace. “It has been more than 20 years since I took over the company along with my brother Santo and daughter Allegra. I am proud that Versace remains very strong in both fashion and modern culture. Versace is not only synonymous with its iconic and unmistakable style, but with being inclusive and embracing of diversity, as well as empowering people to express themselves. Santo, Allegra and I recognize that this next step will allow Versace to reach its full potential. We are all very excited to join a group led by John Idol, whom I have always admired as a visionary as well as a strong and passionate leader. We believe that being part of this group is essential to Versace’s long-term success. My passion has never been stronger. This is the perfect time for our company, which puts creativity and innovation at the core of all of its actions, to grow.”
Donatella added, “Santo, Allegra and I will become shareholders in Capri Holdings Limited. This demonstrates our belief in the long-term success of Versace and commitment to this new global fashion luxury group.”
“Versace’s management team will continue to be led by Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Akeroyd, who has been an instrumental partner to Donatella in driving growth and success for Versace worldwide,” added John D. Idol. “He and Donatella have assembled strong senior management and design teams that will continue to lead Versace into its next chapter. We are extremely fortunate to be able to acquire such an extraordinary brand with an incredibly talented team.”
Jonathan Akeroyd, Chief Executive Officer of Versace, said, “Since I joined Versace over two years ago, our focus has been on leveraging the company’s heritage and strong brand recognition worldwide, which has allowed us to experience significant growth in all regions. Donatella’s unmatched vision has led to the continued and growing success of our brand. I am thrilled to be joining Capri Holdings Limited, which will be instrumental in accelerating our growth globally.”
After the deal, Versace CEO Jonathan Akeroyd will remain at the helm of the company, while Donatella Versace will “continue to lead the company’s creative vision”, Idol added.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth fiscal quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.
Michael Kors said it plans to grow Versace’s global sales to $2 billion globally, boost its retail footprint to 300 stores from around 200 at present and accelerate its e-commerce strategy. It also plans to raise the share of higher-margin accessories and footwear to 60 percent of sales from 35 percent.
Versace does not disclose its financial details, but documents deposited with the Italian chamber of commerce show that last year it posted sales of 668 million euros and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and appreciation (EBITDA) of 45 million euros.
Shares in Michael Kors dropped 2% in premarket trade. The stock plummeted 8% on Monday following reports that the Versace deal was imminent.
Image: Versace executive Jonathan Akeroyd, designer Donatella Versace and Michael Kors CEO John Idol.