MILAN — Style Capital is eyeing the acquisition of New Guards Group, Roberta Benaglia, founder and chief executive officer of the Italian private equity firm, told WWD.
Asked about potential M&A deals on the horizon and speaking ahead of the MSGM men’s fashion show in Milan, Benaglia was cautious about the outcome of the discussions, however. “It’s complicated, there are several major parties involved,” she said.
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To be sure, New Guards Group, whose fate is in doubt following the rescue of parent company Farfetch by Coupang, is home to 10 international brands, which include Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Palm Angels, Unravel Project, Heron Preston, Alanui, Peggy Gou, Ambush and There Was One. It is also the licensee of Off-White and is the European partner of Reebok. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2021 bought a majority stake in Off-White LLC, the trademark owner of the late Virgil Abloh’s Off-White brand.
Style Capital’s portfolio includes Los Angeles-based denim brand Re/Done and Italian labels Forte Forte and MSGM. In 2021 it invested 130 million euros to acquire a 40 percent stake in Florence-based multibrand e-tailer LuisaViaRoma, one of the four leading luxury online shopping destinations in Europe and the U.S. Last September it signed an investment agreement to acquire a majority stake in French brand Soeur.
In August, Style Capital said it was selling a majority stake in Zimmermann to Advent. The Italian fund and the Zimmermann family retain a significant minority holding. Style Capital acquired a 70 percent stake in Zimmermann in late 2020. Other previous investments range from Twin-Set and Sundek to Damiani and Golden Goose.
In addition to New Guards Group, the fate of Farfetch’s many assets — in particular Browns, Stadium Goods, and its $200 million stake in Neiman Marcus — remains unclear. It is understood there are ongoing conversations with potential buyers regarding Browns.
Coupang in December agreed to pump $500 million in emergency funding into Farfetch as part of a “pre-pack” administration process.
According to Farfetch, the fresh capital will allow it “to continue providing exclusive brands and boutiques with bespoke, cutting-edge technology and giving leading designers access to consumers around the globe.”
Coupang, which invested alongside the San Francisco-based firm Greenoaks Capital, is a Fortune 200 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It has operations and support services in markets including South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China and India.
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