Permira’s Valentino Grants Exclusivity to One Potential Buyer

Permira Advisers LLP is in exclusive talks with a potential, unidentified buyer for Valentino, a designer of dresses worn by Sophia Loren and Chloe Sevigny.

The company has had “increasing interest from a number of potential buyers,” Valentino Chief Executive Officer Stefano Sassi said in an e-mailed statement today. The Sunday Telegraph reported that Permira plans to sell Valentino to a sovereign wealth fund for 600 million euros ($739 million).

Permira led a 5.3 billion-euro buyout of Valentino Fashion Group SpA in 2007 that at the time included the Hugo Boss brand and licenses for MCS Marlboro Classics and M Missoni. Exclusivity of the talks is expected to expire this month, Permira said in the statement, in which it also denied that a sale of its shares had already occurred.

Wealthy shoppers are spending more on Birkin bags and other luxury goods, even as China’s gross domestic product growth slows and European governments cut budgets to contain the debt crisis. Spending on luxury apparel, accessories, watches, jewelry, perfume and other personal items in 2012 may climb by 6 percent to 7 percent to as much as 203 billion euros, excluding currency moves, Bain & Co. said in a May report.

London-based Permira is seeking to return cash to investors as it tries to raise 6.5 billion euros for a new fund.

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