Cavalli to sell to private equity

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has signed a letter of intent to sell 30% of his fashion house to local buyout house Clessidra. Cavalli told Il Sole 24 Ore that the stake could fetch more than €300m following an improvement in sales, but said that the business had until September 30 to decide on a price “based on the evolution of Ebitda but with a multiple of nine already agreed”.

Appointing a new chief executive and renewing the licence with fashion eyewear brand Marcolin are top priorities following completion of the transaction, which Cavalli said could come as soon as the end of June.

The move is a U-turn from late May, when Cavalli told Il Sole 24 that he was uncertain whether the deal would go ahead owing to concerns over valuation of the stake and losing his freedom.

“We are adrift on the sale,” he said. “The magic Ebitda number in our 2008 results is not rich – €4m [US$5.6m]. With current luxury multiples, I don’t think it’s worth selling.”

Indian investor Lakshmi Mittal and buyers from the Middle East were also reported to be interested in the fashion house.

Clessidra’s only other purchase this year came in February, when it teamed up with global private equity firm Bain Capital to buy Italian credit checking business Cerved for €535m, for which Sanpaolo, UniCredit and BNL-Gruppo BNP Paribas provided a €275m syndicated loan. The vendors were a consortium of banks including Bank of Italy, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banco Popolare and UBI.