Michael Kors buys Versace for $2.1 billion

Fashion house Michael Kors announced Tuesday it had agreed to buy Italian luxury giant Versace.

Michael Kors, an iconic label rooted in American and New York fashion but headquartered in London, will pay 1.83 billion euros ($2.1 billion) for Versace, a statement said.

“We are excited to have Versace as part of our family of luxury brands, and we are committed to investing in its growth,” said Michael Kors chief executive John Idol.

“With the full resources of our group, we believe that Versace will grow to over $2.0 billion in revenues,” he added.”We believe that the strength of the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo brands, and the acquisition of Versace, position us to deliver multiple years of revenue and earnings growth.”

Idol said that Donatella Versace, artistic director and vice president of the Italian group, would stay on to lead the label’s creative vision, saying her “iconic style” was “at the heart of the design aesthetic of Versace”.

Donatella said the takeover was “essential to Versace’s long-term success”.

She added in the statement: “We are all very excited to join a group led by John Idol, whom I have always admired as a visionary as well as a strong and passionate leader.”

Michael Kors, best known for its bags, watches and perfume, bought luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo in 2017 for $1.2 billion.
Versace was the brainchild of Gianni Versace, who was born in Calabria to a dressmaker mother and presented his first signature collection in 1978, with his brother Santo taking care of the label’s business arm.The designer, whose bold designs were embraced by Madonna and other mega-celebrities, was assassinated in 1997 by luxury-obsessed male prostitute Andrew Cunanan in Miami.

Twenty percent of Versace, known for its Medusa head logo, was bought by US private equity group Blackstone in 2014, and the family owns the rest.

Launched in 1981, Michael Kors is named after its US founder, the New York designer with an avid celebrity following who has dressed the likes of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama.

The 59-year-old Long Island-born self-made tycoon is still creative director and the company has been through highs and lows, forced to file for bankruptcy protection in 1993, but able to restructure with an initial investment by LVMH before going back on the New York Stock Exchange in 2011.


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