by Nathania Zevi
Italian fashion house Valentino has been acquired on Thursday by the Qatari royal family for 700 million euros ($857.46 million), marking one of the most prominent purchases of a European top designer brand by an emerging market investor.
The sellers are the London-based private equity fund Permira and Italian textile entrepreneurs Marzotto.
Valentino is just the latest of Italian luxury brands to be bought by a foreign investor. It is a sign of the resilience of the sector even as Italy sinks into recession.
Founded by designer Valentino Garavani, the Italian high-end fashion brand acquired global fame thanks to its trademark bright-red chiffon dresses, loved by princesses and Hollywood stars alike.
The Qataris, who also own the post London department store Harrods, have been among the world's most active investors. Their assets include stakes in German sports car maker Porsche and British bank Barclays.
Valentino did not disclose financial details of the sale nor name the investor.
(Among the sources Thomson Reuters)