L Catterton Said to Be Frontrunner for Pinarello Bikemaker Stake

  • Italian owners said to be talking with several PE firms
  • Pinarello family says it doesn’t want to exit company entirely

L Catterton, an investment fund backed by French luxury-goods company LVMH, is the frontrunner to acquire a stake in Italian bicycle maker Cicli Pinarello SpA, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Pinarello family is in talks with several private equity funds and is open to selling a majority stake, the people said, asking not to be named because the information is private. President Fausto Pinarello would keep running the company, the people said.

Representatives for L Catterton and Pinarello declined to comment. The family has been studying options to reinforce the business for several years, but it doesn’t want to exit the company entirely, Pinarello said in a statement Tuesday. The company issued the statement following a newspaper report that LVMH was interested in acquiring it. Pinarello didn’t identify any potential suitors.

Pinarello was founded in the early 1950s when Giovanni Pinarello, a professional cyclist, received 100,000 pounds to give up his spot at the 1952 Giro d’Italia road cycling competition. He used the money to open a workshop for hand-made bicycles, and Pinarello is now considered one of the top brands, with models like the Bolide used by Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins selling for as much as $18,000.

L Catterton was formed this year when Catterton, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private-equity firm focused on consumer goods, combined with investment companies controlled by LVMH and Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of LVMH Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault. Catterton owns 60 percent of the venture.

— With assistance by Sarah Syed

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