The Latest Investments: Hermès, Corum & Aman Resorts


Sophie Doran | October 11, 2011

The Latest Investments as LVMH take ownership of a key supplier of skins to Hermès, and battles Saudi Arabian billionaire prince, Al Waleed Bin Talal, for Aman Resorts

The Latest Investments as LVMH take ownership of a key supplier of skins to Hermès, and battles Saudi Arabian billionaire prince, Al Waleed Bin Talal, for Aman Resorts

When it came to investment news in 2011, no one name has been as significant as LVMH in the luxury world. Between LVMH Group, Groupe Arnault and freshly launched branches of L Capital, the associated French powerhouses have engaged Indian, Italian, French and Singaporean brands, with interests in fine jewellery, accessories, menswear and fashion.

There was the sudden acquisition of Bulgari, for over 4 billion euros, followed by a surprise 20% holding in Hermès. L Capital Asia valued a 20% stake in footwear brand Charles & Keith at a cool $30 million, whilst L Capital Asia was reported to be negotiating with Gitanjali Group, to the tune of over $100 million. French accessories firm TWC L’Amy sold 35% for an undisclosed amount and if recent speculation is anything to go by, Aman Resorts could be next on the list. As we wait with baited breath, to see if LVMH adds luxury hotels to its portfolio, we present a round-up of the need to know investment activity in the luxury sector.

Joint Venture: LVMH, Heng Long

Founded by the Koh family of Singapore in the 1950s, Heng Long is thought to be one of the most important suppliers of crocodile skins to the luxury industry. The family have recently announced a joint venture with LVMH, to create a holding company – HLI Holding Pte Ltd. – which will purchase all outstanding shares of Heng Long in a deal worth €92m. LVMH will control 51% of HLI, and the Koh family the remaining 49%.

Most interestingly, an article quoted by The Financial Times, suggests that Heng Long could be the source of almost two-thirds of Hermès’ crocodile skins.

Source: Financial Times

For Sale: Aman Resorts

DLF have announced intentions to sell off the Aman resorts brand, with LVMH and Kingdom Holding Company – backed by Saudi Arabian billionaire prince Al Waleed Bin Talal – and a Chinese investor rumoured to be the front runners. The Kingdom Holding Company already controls interests in management companies like Four Seasons, Fairmont Raffles and Movenpick Hotels, as well as 24 hotels in 17 countries through its subsidiary Kingdom Hotel Investments.

Source: The Economic Times

IPO: Carlye Group

Private equity firm The Carlyle Group, who earlier this year planned to list Moncler, has filed a registration statement to sell shares in an initial public offering. Carlyle is aiming for an IPO in the first half of 2012,where documents say the company, but not Carlyle executives, will sell shares as part of the offering.

Source: WSJ

Sold: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, EXR

South Korean sportswear group and former licensee, EXR, has purchased Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, for a reported €3 million, after the brand went into administration in May. “The EXR group intends to re-launch the brand and ensure its development in Asia with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac as artistic director,” the fashion house’s lawyer Guilhem Bremond told Reuters.

Source: Fashion Mag

Stakeholder: Antonio Calce, Corum

Mr Antonio Calce, CEO of Corum, has personally become a shareholder of Montres Corum SARL. The move is said to be demonstrative of Mr Calce’s long term vision and commitment to the brand alongside Severin Wunderman Trust. “This is a process that started a long time ago and is just another step to my commitment to the Corum brand. I trust in the brand and its ability to push itself to the highest level in the watch making industry,” remarked Mr Calce.

Source: Elite Traveler

Stake: Michael Kors, Private Investors

In a deal valuing the eponymous brand at $2.5 billion, US designer label Michael Kors has allegedly sold a minority stake to a group of private investors – one rumoured to be Tommy Hilfiger. The New York Post reported that Morgan Stanley had been hired to raise $500 million in growth capital, to foster international growth, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Source: Fashion United

Launched: Holding Group, Hermès

Hermès have had a courtroom victory in its on-going battle to prevent an LVMH takeover. A French court has cleared plans to create a holding company, which will lock in descendants of the founding family for 20 years. The newly created company will control more than 50.2 percent of its equity.

Source: NY Times

Raised: Bluefly

Bluefly has raised approximately $6.5 million, in a bid to further accelerate sales growth and improve long term operating performance, through the sale of newly issued common stock. Entities affiliated with Rho Ventures, Soros Fund Management LLC and Prentice Capital Management LLC purchased the stock at a market price of $1.80 per share.

Source: Business Wire

Stake: McLaren, Peter Lim

McLaren Automotive has appointed Singapore-based billionaire, Peter Lim, to its Automotive Board of Directors, following confirmation that Mr Lim has made a significant investment in the company. The eighth-richest businessman in Singapore, according to Forbes, will assist McLaren as it expands into Asia.

Source: Luxury Insider

Invested: Catherine Malandrino, Elie Tahari & Arthur Levine

Elie Tahari and Arthur S. Levine announced today that they have formed a partnership with Catherine Malandrino, in a bid to take the brand to the next level across major product categories and international markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Mr Levine remarked: “We can provide the resources and infrastructure to take this brand to a new dimension and believe strong consumer awareness and a defined brand identity make the Catherine Malandrino name poised for growth.”

Source: PR Newswire

Raised:, Warburg Pincus

Launched in 2008,, now claims to be China’s No. 1 e-commerce site for luxury goods, offering products from almost 3000 brands. The online retailer recently received $100 million from two private equity firms – Warburg Pincus LLC and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers – to boost distribution and add more warehouses as business expands.

Source: Bloomberg

For more in the series of The Latest Investments, please see our most recent editions as follows:

- The Latest Investments, Brioni, Château Lascombes & Proenza Schouler
- The Latest Investments, Prada, L Capital & Qatar Luxury Group
- The Latest Investments, Moncler, Ferragamo & Pomellato