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Image: Fendi

Mergers and acquisitions continue to garner headlines amid enduring consolidation in the fashion, luxury, sportswear, and beauty segments, as well as in the resale and web3 realms. Key deals have seen LVMH add Tiffany & Co. to its lineup of brands, bolstering its position in the hard luxury space; Nike purchase digitally-native brand RTFKT, as companies place their bets on the burgeoning virtual world; and Farfetch nab a 47.5 percent stake in Yoox Net-a-Porter in what is expected to the first leg of a larger transaction. At the same time, other acquisitions are proving to be integral to the operations of fashion and luxury industry entities – those that see big brands amass stakes in their critical suppliers (or acquire those companies outright) in an effort to exert increased control over the manufacturing of their offerings and shore up their supply chains to ensure closer ties to sources of raw materials and valuable know-how. 

Not a new trend, luxury goods brands – from watch companies to wine makers – have been busy acquiring their suppliers in recent years in order to future-proof their own businesses (and potentially shut out rivals that may share the same supplier; it is not uncommon for suppliers to serve multiple brands at the same time). Nonetheless, vertical integration activities appear to have been accelerated by the impact of COVID-19, which has required companies to “shift to e-commerce sales channel and [engage in] supply chain reorganization and monitoring,” things that Deloitte points to as among the “main new strategies adopted by companies” in the wake of the pandemic. 

In order to key a close eye on the development of trends in this space, we have put together a (running) timeline of supply-focused investments and M&A events to provide a broad overview of which players are raising funds, which are merging, and how the trajectory of this segment of the market evolves over time … 

Oct. 6, 2022 – Golden Goose Acquires Italian Fashion Team

Golden Goose will acquire its largest supplier Italian Fashion Team (“IFT”), with the sneaker-maker’s CEO Silvio Campara calling the deal a “strategic step in the name of responsible growth towards the vertical integration of the supply chain.” Founded in 2007 by CEO Michele Zonno, IFT has a workforce of more than 250 and specializes in designing, producing, and commercializing high-end sneakers for some of the most renowned luxury labels in Italy, handling all the key stages of the supply and manufacturing chain. 

The deal, which is slated to close in Q4, is expected to bring Permira-owned Golden Goose’s outsourced production down to 60 percent. 

Oct. 5, 2022 – Fendi Takes Majority Stake in Knitwear Supplier

Fendi acquired a majority stake in Italian knitwear company Maglificio Matisse, a long-time supplier for the LVMH-owned brand, as well as other similarly-situated brands. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Fendi chairman and chief executive officer, Serge Brunschwig, said, “Together with the openings of our Fendi factory in Tuscany for leather goods and in Marche for shoes, this acquisition marks another step of our Maison toward its commitment to support Made-in-Italy and its supply chain.”

Sept. 28, 2022 – Gruppo Florence Invests in Footwear-Makers

Gruppo Florence acquired majority stakes in footwear manufacturers Lorenza Calzaturificio and Novarese in furtherance of a larger effort to build out its high fashion-focused production platform. The luxury manufacturing group announced that it has also taken a controlling stake in Italian leather and textile wholesaler Officina Ciemmeci.

Sept. 26, 2022 – LVMH Métiers d’Art Takes Stakes in Heng Long Italy, Robans

LVMH will acquire a majority stake in tannery Heng Long Italy and a minority stake in leather and suede-purveyor Robans by way of its know-how and materials-focused Métiers d’Art initiative. The terms of the deals have not been disclosed. 

Sept. 15, 2022 – Prada Takes Stake in Tuscan Tannery Superior SpA 

Prada SpA acquired a 43.65 percent stake in Tuscan calfskin tannery Superior SpA, further “tightening its grip on its supply chain,” per Reuters. “The acquisition of a shareholding in Superior represents another important step in the strategic direction towards vertical integration of the Prada Group’s supply chain,” CEO Patrizio Bertelli said.

Sept. 14, 2022 – Patek Philippe Takes Stake in Salanitro SA

Patek Philippe acquired a stake in jewelry design and gem-setting firm Salanitro SA. Geneva-based “specializes in jewelry creation and stone-setting in the Haute Horlogerie sector as well as case/bracelet making,” according to a recent note from Jefferies, reportedly works with more than 80 luxury brands. Details on the size of Patek’s stake or other terms of the deal have not been disclosed. 

Jun. 27, 2022 – Gruppo Florence Acquires Facopel

Gruppo Florence added a high-end hat-maker to its roster of “Made in Italy” manufacturers via its acquisition of Chiesina Uzzanese-headquartered Facopel. 

May 5, 2022 – Gruppo Florence Announces Five New Acquisitions

Gruppo Florence is building out its fashion and luxury manufacturing capabilities by way of five new acquisitions. The new acquisitions of the group – which was founded by former Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani in 2020 – including, high-end apparel-makers CAM and Parmamoda; outerwear-makers Confezioni Elledue and Frediani; and clothing and fabric wholesaler Pigolotti. 

These companies join Gruppo Florence’s existing roster of knitwear-makers Metaphor and Mely’s Maglieria Srl; fabric producer Antica Valserchio; knitwear and outerwear-maker Giuntini; fur and leather purveyor Ciemmeci Fashion Srl; jersey manufacturer Manifatture Cesari; and apparel and outerwear-maker Emmegi.

Mar. 14, 2022 – Brunello Cucinelli Nabs 43% Stake in Cariaggi Lanificio SpA

Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. announced that it acquired a 43 percent stake in the share capital of knitwear supplier Cariaggi Lanificio S.p.A. from the Cariaggi family. “The purchase price of the shareholding was 15.05 million euros, a value that is proportionally close to the current net worth of Cariaggi Lanificio,” Cucinelli confirmed in a statement. “The purchase was financed entirely with own means.” 

Control and day-to-day management of Cariaggi Lanificio, which has been a longtime supplier of cashmere for Cucinelli, “will remain in the hands of the Cariaggi family, which holds 57 percent of the share capital.” 


2021


Aug. 24, 2021 – Chanel Takes Majority Stake in Paima

Chanel has taken a majority stake in Italian knitwear company Paima, a move that falls in line with a larger pattern of luxury giants looking gain greater control over their supply chains by bringing key third-party companies under their own roofs. “This decision has been motivated by converging interests,” Chanel asserted in a statement, noting that while Paima, which has been a supplier for the French fashion brand for 25 years, “has seen its development accelerate in recent years, it seemed appropriate to have a solid partner to help it grow [further] and invest.” More than that, Chanel revealed that the investment “provides a more sustainable collaboration framework by continuing an already established relationship.”

Jun. 22, 2021 – Prada, Zegna Take Stakes in Cashmere Supplier

Prada partnered with fellow Italian fashion company Zegna Group to acquire a controlling stake in Italian cashmere producer Filati Biagioli Modesto in furtherance of a quest to “secure a domestic supply chain and luxury-goods manufacturing expertise.” The two big-name fashion entities will each take a 40 percent stake in the Montale-based supplier, which is known for its Italian cashmere and “noble yarns,” while the Biagioli family will hold on to 15 percent of the company, and newly-appointed CEO Renato Cotto – who recently served as a director at LVMH’s Loro Piana – will assume a 5 percent holding. 

Jun. 3, 2021 – Zegna Acquires Majority Stake in Tessitura Ubertino

Ermenegildo Zegna Group announced that it will “strengthen its luxury textile division with the acquisition of the majority stake in Tessitura Ubertino, a company specialized in high-end fabrics for women.” The Italian brand said in a statement that “the acquisition of historic Italian companies – Bonotto, Dondi and Tessitura di Novara – each one with a specialization in a particular sector has allowed the Group to set up, together with Lanificio Zegna, a unique luxury textile division aimed to create unparalleled quality textile products while preserving the specificities, know-how and craftsmanship of Made in Italy.”

The deal will see Zegna Group acquire the 60% majority stake in Tessitura Ubertino, while the Ubertino brothers will keep the remaining 40 percent and maintain responsibility for both management and creative direction.