“All Europe is on sale. Europe is a bargain,” declared Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah to Reuters, as investors from emerging countries are hunting for luxury brands in Europe, as economic turmoil pushes valuations down.

Indeed, in 2012 alone, there has been a flurry of activity from wealthy foreign investment groups. India’s Sahara Group purchased a controlling stake in New York’s landmark Plaza Hotel for $570 million, from Israeli real estate company Elad Properties.

Valentino Fashion Group SpA was acquired by the Qatari royal family for €700 million, from London-based private equity fund Permira and Italian textile entrepreneurs Marzotto. Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C was said to have conducted the purchase on behalf of the Qatari royal family.


 All Europe is on sale. Europe is a bargain 


The emirate of Qatar purchased four French luxury hotels from U.S. investment group Starwood, at a total cost of €750 million, joining its portfolio that includes the Royal Monceau hotel in Paris and the Carlton in Cannes.

Kazakh billionaire Goga Ashkenazi bought a majority stake in fashion house Vionnet for an undisclosed sum, following its re-launch in 2009 by a group of Italian investors.

Just last month Anya Hindmarch sequestered a minority stake in her eponymous brand to an unnamed private Qatari investor group, in a deal that valued the business at £70 million. And that is just taking into account activity in the past few months.


Offer: Tata Group, Orient-Express

Tata Group – owner of Jaguar Land Rover – has launched a takeover bit for Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, in a deal valued at $1.86 billion. Tata’s Indian Hotels Co. proposed paying $12.63 a share for the Bermuda-based hotelier, a 40% premium to Orient-Express’s closing stock price on Wednesday 17th October.

Source: HSyndicate


Acquired: Barrie, Causse, Chanel

Chanel has purchased Barrie Knitwear for an undisclosed sum, following the collapse of owner Dawson International. The cashmere mill in the Scottish Borders has supplied Chanel for 25 years, but will be free to “pursue its partnerships with all major luxury brands, with no exclusivity.”

Chanel has also acquired French glove maker Causse through its Paraffection affiliate for an undisclosed sum, from husband-and-wife partners Manuel Rubio and Nadine Carel.

Source: BBC, WWD


Sold: Daimler, Aabar Investments

Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund Aabar Investments has sold its remaining voting stake in Daimler AG. Aabar disposed of its 3.1 percent holding on Oct. 5, but retains 12.75 percent indirect voting rights through financial instruments.

Source: Bloomberg


Dissolved: Burberry, Interparfums

Burberry is to take its perfume and cosmetics business in house, after choosing not to renew its contract with Interparfums that expires on December 31st 2012. A transition agreement has been reached, whereby Interparfums will continue operating the business for Burberry until March 31, 2013.

Source: Reuters


Acquired: Peter Millar, VVSA, Richemont

Richemont has finalised a deal to buy U.S. luxury apparel business Peter Millar for an undisclosed sum. The conglomerate also announced that it has acquired 100 % of the capital of VVSA – a high-end manufacturer of stamped exterior components for watches – in a private transaction with the shareholder group.

Source: Reuters, Richemont


Denied: Harry Winston, Sale

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. was said last week to be seeking $1 billion for its watch and jewellery business, with reports that both LVMH and PPR had been approached. CEO Frédéric de Narp has out rightly denied the claim, telling WWD “we’re not selling, it’s all speculation.”

Source: WWD


Acquired: Marcolin, PAI Partners

PAI Partners has agreed to buy 78.4% of Italian eyewear manufacturer Marcolin for €207 million. The private equity fund will then launch a takeover offer at 4.25 euros a share for all the shares it does not yet own, in a bid to take Marcolin off the market.

Source: Reuters


Speculation: Mayhoola, Versace

Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero has reported Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C – the private investor group from Qatar and owner of Valentino – is looking to buy a stake in Gianni Versace SpA. It is said that Mayhoola recently met with representatives from the Italian government and corporate world to discuss the deal.

Source: 4-Traders


To Float: Fnac, PPR

PPR has confirmed plans to demerge and float Fnac, its retailer of books, music and home electronics, in a bid to fully focus on the development of its apparel and accessories brands. The spin-off — via the distribution of Fnac shares to the shareholders of PPR — is intended to go ahead in 2013.

Source: WWD


Acquired: Moser Group, Swiss Investors

Swiss investors’ group has acquired the companies of the Moser Group, securing the independence of watch manufacture H.Moser & Cie. As part of the investment deal, the previous majority shareholder has agreed to accept a minority interest and play no active role within the new set-up.

Source: Retail Jeweller


Capital: Amanda Wakeley, AGC Equity Partners

British fashion label Amanda Wakeley has confirmed “significant” financial investment from private equity firm AGC Equity Partners, in a bid to expand as a luxury lifestyle brand. In 2009, Wakeley’s own investment vehicle, AW Atelier LLP, bought back the company for an undisclosed sum from Jason Granite, a corporate restructuring specialist.

Source: WWD


Acquired: Grand Hotel Baglioni, Qatar Sovereign Fund

Qatar Sovereign Fund has acquired Florence’s Grand Hotel Baglioni from the Monaco family, for a reported €30 million. The Qatar fund will seek to restore the 193-room heritage hotel to the highest luxury category, elevating it from its current four-star rating.

Source: CPP Luxury


Speculation: Pomellato, IPO

Italian jewellery firm Pomellato is said to be evaluating a public listing, as CEO Andrea Morante remains “intrigued” by the successful Brunello Cucinelli IPO earlier this year. “We are thinking about it, it’s one of the possible hypotheses for Pomellato,” he told WWD.

Source: WWD


Buyback: Jimmy Choo, Kutu China

Labelux’s Jimmy Choo is to take back control of its Mainland Chinese operations from distribution partner Kutu in the Q4 2012. Jimmy Choo (Shanghai) Trading Co. Ltd was established in 2012 and will assume direct responsibility for retail operations.

Source: Choo Connection


Acquired: Setai Hotel, Great Eagle

Hong Kong-based Great Eagle has agreed to purchase the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel from 400 Fifth Realty for $229 million. The hotel will be operated by Langham Hospitality Group as of January 15th 2013, after being rebranded as Langham Place.

Source: Commercial Observer


Acquired: Palazzo Versace, Chinese Investors

Two Chinese companies have entered a joint venture deal to Australia’s Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast, for a reported $A68.5 million. The joint investors paid $A11.5 million less than was originally sought by current owners, with plan to roll out similar properties in China.

Source: The MO Down



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

- The Latest Investments: Anya Hindmarch, Berluti & Harry Winston
- The Latest Investments: Coty, Porsche & Valentino
- The Latest Investments: Arnys, Graff & Vionnet


About the author

Sophie Doran

Creative Strategist, Digital

Sophie Doran is currently Senior Creative Strategist, Digital at Karla Otto. Prior to this role, she was the Paris-based editor-in-chief of Luxury Society.

Prior to joining Luxury Society, Sophie completed her MBA in Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on luxury brand dynamics and leadership, whilst simultaneously working in management roles for several luxury retailers.

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