According to WWD, the Rome-based brand has granted exclusive rights to a mystery sovereign wealth fund. The rights expire this month, meaning that a sale is likely to be imminent.
The brand was sold together with Hugo Boss at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis, in 2007, to London-based private equity firm Permira for £2.7 billion but it soon hit a rocky period as Valentino Garavani himself exited the house.
The CEO of Valentino Fashion Group and Valentino, Stefano Sassi, installed Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Picciolias Creative Directors and, since, they have steadily returned the brand to the fore of fashionable minds – turning profits around in the process.
The Telegraph says that, in 2011, ‘Valentino had sales of €322.4million [£255.4 million], up 20% from the previous year and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of €22.2million [£17.6 million], up 300% on the previous year.'
Rumour has it that the Qatari royal family is the interested party but Valentino is denying the claims. ‘As previously stated, Valentino has seen increasing interest from a number of potential buyers,’ says Sassi. ‘The outstanding work and stylistic vision of Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli and the constant growth of company's results have generated great attention towards the brand.’
While the buy-out – which will see the brand separated from Hugo Boss – is being hotly denied, it’s our experience that there is no smoke without fire. Expect more Valentino news shortly.