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Italian luxury brands looking at various strategies to stay ahead

Italy is losing its iconic brands to foreign, usually French, groups. It is becoming increasingly hard to create a luxury conglomerate in Italy. And companies have to think hard and strategies. Giorgio Armani has created the Giorgio Armani Foundation. Its heirs, three nieces and nephews, are already on the board of directors of the company.

OTB (Only the Brave) controls Diesel and a portfolio of brands including Marni, Maison Margiela, Viktor & Rolf and Paula Cademartori. The founder is already thinking of the future, of his children, and how to ensure a smooth transition in management, and one of the options under consideration is a possible public listing sometime over the next few years.

Similarly Prada opted for a public listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2011. Versace sold a 20 per cent stake to the US fund Blackstone in 2014. Zegna redistributed the ownership stakes among the grandchildren, heirs to the company, in 2014.

The fact remains that these are businesses with broad appeal, to private equity funds and to international investment firms. They are courted by international stock markets. There's no lack of options. The main thing for these companies is to remain attractive by continuing to show steady growth.