Kering Sells Shoemaker Sergio Rossi to End Years of Struggle

  • Swedish buyout firm Investindustrial to acquire Italian brand
  • Unit classified as discontinued in Kering half-year accounts

Gucci owner Kering SA agreed to sell shoemaker Sergio Rossi to an Italian buyout firm after struggling to turn around the business.

The buyer, Investindustrial, will get all Rossi’s industrial assets, rights and a network of more than 80 stores, according to a joint statement Wednesday. The deal will ensure the long-term development of the brand, the companies said. Bloomberg News reported in August that Investindustrial was in advanced talks on the acquisition.

Kering, whose Gucci Group bought Rossi in 1999, decided to dispose of Rossi after a strategic review, Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault told Bloomberg in February. The French company separated the Italian brand from its half-year accounts in July and attributed the 10.7 million-euro ($11.7 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.

The disposal is “good news,” said Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in London. “Sergio Rossi has been the exception to the rule in Kering’s most positive track record of adding value to small luxury-goods acquisitions.”

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. Sergio Rossi shoes have been worn by celebrities including Keira Knightley.

Investindustrial also has stakes in Aston Martin, Flos and B&B Italia, that are growing internationally, according to senior partner Andrea Bonomi. This is “the same growth path that we are looking to achieve for Sergio Rossi,” Bonomi said in the statement.

The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.

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