Valentino's Qatari Owner Said to Explore IPO of Fashion Designer

  • Mayhoola working with Rothschild on options for the group
  • Share sale may value Valentino at as much as 2 billion euros

The Qatari owners of Italy’s Valentino Fashion Group SpA are exploring options including an initial public offering of the maker of $3,000 handbags, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Investment firm Mayhoola For Investments SPC is working with Rothschild on the potential IPO, which may seek a valuation for Valentino of as much as 2 billion euros ($2.27 billion), the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Mayhoola may sell anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of the business in a share sale as early as the first half of next year, the people said. Deliberations are at a preliminary stage, and Mayhoola may also choose to keep the business, or sell it to a trade buyer, they said.

Valentino is working with financial advisers to explore options including a public company structure, according to a statement from the company on Friday. No decision has been made at this stage. Representatives for Mayhoola and Rothschild declined to comment.

Designer Valentino Garavani

Designer Valentino Garavani

Photographer: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Mayhoola bought Valentino from private-equity firm Permira Advisers in 2012 for about 700 million euros. The fashion house, established in 1960 by designer Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, showed its most recent collection at Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday, featuring models in beaded dresses and safari-print coats.

Valentino expects to generate sales of about 1 billion euros in 2015, compared to about 664 million euros last year, according to the company’s statement.

Selling a stake in Valentino, whose designs are worn by celebrities including James Marsden and Gwyneth Paltrow, would follow fashion acquisitions by Mayhoola this year. In April, the firm said it will purchase 30.7 percent of the Turkish distributor of luxury brands including Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior. It also owns a stake in U.K. handbag maker Anya Hindmarch Ltd.

The largest IPO in the apparel sector in the last 10 years was that of Prada SpA, the Italian maker of luxury goods that raised about $2.5 billion in a Hong Kong listing in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prada’s shares have fallen about 26 percent this year amid a slowdown in China’s economy -- a key market for luxury sales -- as well as the country’s government discouraging extravagant spending.

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