Michael Kors agrees to buy Versace for €1.83 billion

Global fashion brand Michael Kors has agreed to buy Italian luxury label Versace for €1.83 billion. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Michael Kors agrees to buy Versace for €1.83 billion

MILAN: US fashion group Michael Kors has agreed to buy Versace in a deal valuing the revered designer at $2 billion including debt, the companies said on Tuesday, making it the latest Italian brand to fall into foreign hands.
Michael Kors, whose namesake label is best known for its leather handbags, has made no secret of its ambition to grow its portfolio of high-end brands after buying British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion last year.
Versace, known for its bold and glamorous designs and its Medusa head logo, was one of a clutch of family-owned Italian brands cited as attractive targets at a time when the luxury industry is riding high on strong demand from China.
“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,” John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors said.
As part of the deal, Michael Kors agreed to buy all of Versace’s outstanding shares for a total enterprise value of €1.83 billion ($2.2 billion), to be funded in cash, debt and shares in Michael Kors Holding Ltd, which will be renamed Capri Holdings Ltd.
US private equity firm Blackstone, which bought 20 percent of Versace back in 2014, will fully exit its investment.
The Versace family, which currently owns 80 percent of the fashion house via a holding company called Givi, will receive €150 million of the purchase price in Capri shares.
“We believe that being part of this group is essential to Versace’s long-term success. My passion has never been stronger,” said Donatella Versace, sister of the company’s late founder, and artistic director and vice president of the Milan-based group.
After the deal, Versace CEO Jonathan Akeroyd will remain at the helm of the company, while Donatella Versace will “continue to lead the company’s creative vision,” Idol added.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth fiscal quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.
Michael Kors said it plans to grow Versace’s global sales to $2 billion globally, boost its retail footprint to 300 stores from around 200 at present and accelerate its e-commerce strategy. It also plans to raise the share of higher-margin accessories and footwear to 60 percent of sales from 35 percent.
Versace does not disclose its financial details, but documents deposited with the Italian chamber of commerce show that last year it posted sales of €668 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and appreciation of €45 million.


Jessica Kahawaty gains recognition Down Under

Updated 22 October 2018
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Jessica Kahawaty gains recognition Down Under

DUBAI: Lebanese-Australian model and TV show host Jessica Kahawaty was honored with an award at an Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ALCCI) event in Melbourne this week.

The fashion influencer, who is based in Dubai but jets across the world to attend events, made an appearance at the event in a strapless black dress with a flared, tulle skirt completed with a thigh-high slit.
Kahawaty wore her hair in a tight bun and completed the look with dramatic blue eyeliner.
She took to Instagram to celebrate the honor, saying: “So yesterday, I received the highest honor a Lebanese-Australian could receive! Thank you so much to the ALCCI for awarding me with ‘Outstanding Ambassador to Lebanon and Australia. With my move from Australia to the Middle East five years ago, my aim was to bridge my two worlds and encourage intercultural dialogue and understanding. Couldn’t be happier for this recognition.”
The organization seeks to strengthen trade relations between Australia, Lebanon and the Middle East.

Before the gala dinner, she took to Instagram to post an image in which she poses on a Melbourne street in a white mini-dress with frilled accents and a dramatic, a-symmetrical train.
“Outside the International Chamber House after the private conference to honor some members of the Lebanese-Australian community who have made significant contributions in medicine, business, politics, philanthropy and more... can’t wait for the big gala tonight!” she captioned the photo.
While in the country, the former Miss Australia — who came third place in the Miss World 2012 competition — visited her childhood school to talk to the students and shed light on her career.
“It was such a pleasure to visit my old school in Australia, Tangara School for Girls, and speak to the bright, humble and ambitious Year 10 and Year 11 Girls. I had goosebumps being there, remembering how I was when I was 17 and what I wanted to hear. Thank you for listening to me,” she posted alongside a short video of cheering students on Instagram.
Kahawaty studied business, finance and law in Sydney and is a keen supporter of a number of humanitarian causes, including UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Last year, fashion house Louis Vuitton selected Kahawaty to work with UNICEF at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to help children affected by the Syrian crisis, which has seen millions of people displaced.
The multi-talented celebrity also gave a talk at the TEDxSciencesPo event in Paris in April.
The conference, according to a press release, brought together influencers “who work toward breaking the wall between the East and the West” and aims to “provide an essential bridge, to fuse the gap between rising trends of neo-conservatism predominant in the South of France and the cultural diversity that characterizes the Arab world.”