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Michael Kors bags Versace for $2.1 bn

By AFP
media Michael Kors is headquartered in London GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Global fashion house Michael Kors said Tuesday it had agreed to buy Italian luxury giant Versace, adding a new layer to its offering after buying shoemaker Jimmy Choo last year.

Michael Kors, with roots in the United States but headquartered in London, has struck a deal to buy Versace for 1.83 billion euros ($2.1 billion), a statement said.

"We are excited to have Versace as part of our family of luxury brands, and we are committed to investing in its growth," said Michael Kors chief executive John D. Idol.

"With the full resources of our group, we believe that Versace will grow to over $2.0 billion in revenues," he added.

"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."

Donatella Versace, artistic director and vice-president of the Italian group, said the takeover was "essential to Versace's long-term success".

She added in the statement: "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."

- Bags, watches and perfume -

Michael Kors, best known for its bags, watches and perfume, said it planned to grow the number of Versace stores worldwide by 50 percent to 300.

The deal is the latest push by Michael Kors into high-end luxury after it bought British shoemaker to the stars Jimmy Choo in 2017 for $1.4 billion.

It is seen also as positioning Michael Kors more fully as a competitor to Paris-based LVMH and Kering and the Swiss company Richemont among global heavyweights in luxury across various product lines, analysts said.

Versace was the brainchild of Gianni Versace, who was born in Calabria to a dressmaker mother and presented his first signature collection in 1978, with his brother Santo taking care of the label's business arm.

But the designer, whose bold designs were embraced by Madonna and other mega-celebrities, was the victim of a bizarre slaying in 1997 by luxury-obsessed male prostitute Andrew Cunanan in Miami.

Twenty percent of Versace, known for its Medusa head logo, was bought by US private equity group Blackstone in 2014, and the family owns the rest.

Versace chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd on Tuesday said that since joining the company two years ago, "focus has been on leveraging the company's heritage and strong brand recognition worldwide", in turn helping "to experience significant growth in all regions".

Launched in 1981, Michael Kors is named after its US founder.

 
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