Sergio Loro Piana, Italian Cashmere Clothier, Dies at 65

Sergio Loro Piana, one of two brothers who became billionaires through the sale, completed this month, of Italian cashmere clothier Loro Piana SpA to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, has died. He was 65, according to Women’s Wear Daily while Italian newswire ANSA said he was 69.

His death was confirmed by a person who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak for the family. Sergio Loro Piana died yesterday after being ill for some time, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

Regulators approved LVMH’s acquisition of 80 percent of Loro Piana, the two companies said in a joint statement on Dec. 5. The statement quoted Sergio Loro Piana and his younger brother, Pier Luigi Loro Piana, saying that executives at Paris-based LVMH, the French luxury-goods maker, “share both in our passion for excellence and quality, as well as in our long-term vision.”

The two brothers alternated as president of Quarona, Italy-based Loro Piana, the largest Western manufacturer of cashmere and a specialist in vicuna, the world’s rarest natural fiber.

Each brother had a net worth of at least $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, based on their respective 10 percent stakes in Loro Piana and after-tax proceeds from the sale. LVMH paid 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion) for its stake in the company.

The Loro Piana family has traded wool and fabrics since the early 1800s, according to the company’s website. The current business was founded in 1924 by Pietro Loro Piana in Italy’s Piedmont region. Pietro’s nephew Franco -- Pier Luigi and Sergio’s father -- began exporting fine fabrics to international markets in the 1940s. Pier Luigi and Sergio took over in the 1970s, and developed the brand and expanded into luxury retail.

His survivors include his wife, Maria Luisa, and their three children, according to Women’s Wear Daily.