Italian fashion house Valentino has been snapped up by the Qatari royal’s for €700 million.
The luxury label loved by Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn & elite Arab ladies said on Thursday that Mayhoola for Investments, an investment vehicle backed by a leading Qatari, had bought it from UK-based private equity fund
Sources close to the deal said that the Qatari royal family, which also owns London’s Harrods department store, appeared to be building a home grown luxury brand with this latest purchase.
Founded in 1960 by designer Valentino Garavani, the Italian brand acquired global fame thanks to its trademark bright-red chiffon dresses, loved by princesses and Hollywood stars alike.
It was hit hard by the recent financial crisis and had to restructure its debts in December 2009, struggling to keep up with competition from glamorous new brands like Dolce Gabbana.
However, a recent surge of interest in the high-end luxury sector from super-rich clients who are not feeling the economic pinch has helped its fortunes.
In December 2010, high-end Chinese menswear retailer Trinity Ltd bought Italian tailor Cerruti for $70 million. In 2011, Dubai retailer Paris Group bought fashion house Gianfranco Ferre.
“We can expect to see many more individual investors looking at European luxury. The IPO market is tough and emerging market players from China and the Middle East are the main players now,” said a Paris-based luxury goods analyst.
The Qataris also own assets ranging from stakes in German sports car maker Porsche to shares in British bank Barclays. Analysts say their latest luxury purchases were spearheaded by the chic wife of the Qatari Emir, Sheikha Mozah.
She owns the Qatar Luxury Group, which has a stake in French leather goods maker Le Tanneur & Cie. Through the deal, the Qataris also acquire control of the casualwear licensed Missoni brand.