Kering’s Rossi Said to Near Sale to Italy’s Investindustrial

Kering Chairman Francois-Henri Pinault
In April, Francois-Henri Pinault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kering SA, said he was convinced the company should have a sports and lifestyle division that wouldn’t be expanded until he’d revived Puma. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Italian buyout firm Investindustrial is in advanced talks to buy Sergio Rossi, the maker of luxury shoes worn by celebrities including Keira Knightley, people familiar with the matter said.

French luxury-goods group Kering SA may announce a sale of the brand to the private-equity firm as soon as next month, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private. Discussions are ongoing and the deal may still fall apart, the people said.

Representatives for Kering and Investindustrial declined to comment.

Kering decided to dispose of Rossi after a strategic review, Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault told Bloomberg in February. The group separated the Italian brand from its half-year accounts in July and attributed the 10.7 million-euro ($12 million) net loss from discontinued operations in the period mainly to the shoemaker. Rossi CEO Christophe Melard left the brand a year ago after a run of disappointing results.

Sergio Rossi learned the shoemaking trade from his father and began selling women’s shoes bearing his own name in 1968, according to the company’s website. The brand gained prominence in the 1970s due to a partnership with Gianni Versace to supply footwear for the designer’s runway shows.

The first Sergio Rossi boutique opened in Italy in 1980, and today the shoes are sold in 90 stores around the world. Kering’s Gucci Group bought the business in 1999. The Rossi brand, which also makes handbags and other leather goods, is “sexy, stylish and Italian,” according to Kering’s website.

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