LVMH considering selling Pucci, sources say
Pucci is one of several luxury Italian brands owned by LVMH, the Paris-based conglomerate that has the world’s largest stable of prestige marques. These include Roman furrier Fendi, cashmere specialist Loro Piana and high-end jeweller Bulgari.
However, Pucci has never quite fitted into the long-term strategy of LVMH chairman and key shareholder Bernard Arnault and his desire to control and build international star brands.
Moreover, the house has been without a creative director for almost two years – a stunning hiatus for a luxury brand. Its most recent designer was Massimo Giorgetti of MSGM fame, who quit the house in April 2017. It does not currently have a CEO either.
According to an Italian banker and two fashion executives familiar with Pucci, LVMH has quietly sounded out potential buyers for the house.
But, asked about the reports, Sidney Toledano, the president of LVMH Fashion Group, which oversees Pucci, along with Celine, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Kenzo and others, denied that the conglomerate was contemplating any sale.
“This is not the case. I think we all know Bernard Arnault doesn’t like selling assets,” Toledano told FashionNetwork.com.
He underlined that he had recently appointed Giorgio Presca as general manager to “make an analysis of the company.”
Once that process is completed, Pucci will consider replacements for CEO Mauro Grimaldi, who left last month.
Pucci was founded by the exotic Florentine marquis and champion skier Emilio Pucci in 1947, after his designs for the Reed College ski team caught the attention of senior fashion editors. He went on to create a brand instantly recognizable for its fabulously geometric prints featuring a kaleidoscope of colours, worn by the likes of Sophia Loren, Jackie Kennedy and Madonna.
LVMH acquired majority control of Pucci in 2000 for an estimated $12 million, when its annual sales were two-thirds that figure. Atypically, LVMH left management of the house mainly in the hands of the family; to Laudomia Pucci, daughter of founder Emilio.
Throughout its period under LVMH control, Pucci has witnessed a rather rapid turnover of designers: Antonio Berardi, Stephan Janson, Christian Lacroix, Julio Espada, Matthew Williamson, Peter Dundas and Giorgetti. A stunning revolving door, even given modern business habits of extending shorter and shorter contracts to designers.
Under Dundas, who had the longest run at over six years; Pucci reached its apogee, breaking the 100-million-euro barrier.
However after loggerheads with Laudomia Pucci, and the opinion that Dundas had strayed too far from the luxury resort DNA of Pucci and onto Hollywood’s red carpet, the Norwegian designer exited in 2015.
Pucci is far from being the jewel in the crown of the LVMH stable of over 50 prestige brands, however, the possibility to acquire such a storied label, with incredibly rich archives and a respectable retail network would be certain to attract plenty of bidders.
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