French luxury maison Hermes is reported to be in advanced talks for the sale of its 45% in Jean Paul Gaultier fashion company. Jean Paul Gaultier includes ready to wear line produced in licensing by Italian Aeffe Group and haute couture directly managed by the majority shareholder and founder. Gaultier was Hermes’s creative director of ready to wear until January 2011 when former Lacoste designer Christophe Lemaire took over.
However, Gaultier’s most successful business has been in fragrances and not fashion. French daily Les Echos advises that Gaultier himself might need to reduce his 55% stake in order to be able to maintain the creative direction of his company.
Spanish perfume maker Puig is the front-runner to buy control of fashion brand Jean-Paul Gaultier after China’s Li & Fung walked away but Interparfums is still in the race, fashion and banking sources said.
China’s Li & Fung, whose private equity arm bought French shoemaker Robert Clergerie last week and Italian brand Cerruti in December, looked at Gaultier "very closely and seriously" several weeks ago, a source with first-hand knowledge of the matter said.
They were interested but they are no longer now, not at this price," the source said adding that the sellers were seeking to get a valuation for Jean-Paul Gaultier of at least 100 million euros.
Jean-Paul Gaultier, which is still lossmaking, made revenues of 26 million euros in 2010, up from 23 million euros in 2009 and 13 million euros in 1998.
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