Blackstone, seven others in running to bid for minority stake in Versace

Versace’s financial advisers, Banca IMI and Goldman Sachs “have told a small group of investors that they can proceed with the bidding process”, one source said.

The investors considering buying the stake include Italy’s state-controlled fund FSI, Bahrain’s Investcorp, and private equity firms Ardian, Permira, KKR & Co, Clessidra and Blackstone, the sources said.

FSI, Ardian, Clessidra and Blackstone declined to comment. Investcorp, Permira and KKR were not immediately available to comment.

One source said the fashion house, known for its tight-fitting dresses sported by Lady Gaga and Madonna, had not yet drawn up a shortlist of potential partners, and was unlikely to do so before the December holiday season.

Chief Executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris said in September Versace planned to finalise a shortlist by mid-October.

One source said potential bidders had been told that the deadline for expressions of interest in buying the stake was Nov. 30, but this was subject to change.

Versace is entirely controlled by the family of late founder Gianni Versace, whose sister, creative director Donatella Versace, owns 20 percent of the company, brother Santo 30 percent, and niece Allegra 50 percent.

Massimo Gaia and Isla Binnie are reporters for Reuters News