Retail Supply Chain Investment and M&A Tracker
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. (For retail tech investments/deals, including in connection with supply chains, you can find them here.)
In order to key a close eye on the development of trends in this space, we have compiled a tracker of supply-focused investments and M&A events to provide a broad overview of which players are fundraising, merging, and how the trajectory of this segment of the market evolves over time …
Nov. 6, 2023 – Boucheron Acquires High Jewelry Workshop
“As part of its ongoing growth and development strategy,” Boucheron says that it “has recently acquired a High Jewelry workshop, renowned for its excellent expertise in traditional craftsmanship.” The acquisition of the Paris-based workshop – which is composed of four companies: Blondeau, Belter, Chanson and FG Développement – will enable Boucheron “to reinforce the production capacity of its historical High Jewelry workshop.” The Kering-owned jewelry company says that the workshop “gathers about sixty artisans (CAD designers, jewelers, lapidaries, setters and polishers) who are involved in each step of the process in the making of a High Jewelry creation.” Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, CEO of Maison Boucheron, said in a statement, “The acquisition of this High Jewelry workshop writes a new chapter in the history of the Maison. It will reinforce the production capacity of Boucheron’s historical workshop on Place Vendôme, enabling us to meet the increasing demand of our clients while maintaining the excellence of our craftsmanship.”
Oct. 4, 2023 – Burberry Completes Acquisition of Pattern
Burberry has completed its acquisition of a product development business from longstanding Italian supplier, Pattern. The acquisition is expected to enhance Burberry’s technical outerwear capabilities and provide greater control over the quality, cost, delivery, and sustainability of its products. Burberry CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said in a statement, “This strategic investment is an important next step in bringing our outerwear category to full potential. It will enhance our capabilities, building on our strong foundations in the UK, and provide greater control over the quality, delivery, and sustainability of our products.”
Sept. 13, 2023 – Tikehau Capital Takes 25% Stake in Brandart
Tikehau Capital has acquired a 25 percent stake in Italian packaging company Brandart. The investment falls under the French investment firm’s private equity decarbonization strategy, a fund dedicated to helping companies implement steps to cut carbon emissions, per Reuters, which reports that Brandart acts as a supplier to high-end fashion, eyewear, jewelry, and spirits brands, as the sector invests to cut carbon emissions and improve sustainability. “Brandart founder and CEO Maurizio Sedgh will retain control of the group, with Tikehau providing strategic support to expand the business into new markets.”
Sept. 5, 2023 – Thelios Acquires Eyewear Brand Vuarnet
LVMH’s eyewear division Thelios has acquired French sunglass brand Vuarnet from NEO Investment Partners. Charged with designing, manufacturing, and distributing sunglasses and optical frames for LVMH brands, including Dior, Fendi, and Givenchy, Thelios cited Vuarnet’s more than 60 years of “heritage and pioneering manufacturing of mineral lenses” as a key driver of the acquisition. Thélios confirmed in a statement that this is its first brand acquisition, with the deal marking “an important milestone in the development of the LVMH eyewear company, expanding its presence in the luxury eyewear industry through this proprietary brand. Vuarnet perfectly blends in the Thélios’ portfolio of LVMH luxury Maisons through its unique brand positioning at the crossroads of outdoors and fashion. Thélios aims to restore the brand’s former glory, empowering Vuarnet to further elevate its product quality and push the boundaries of innovation.”
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Jun. 30, 2023 – Kering Eyewear Completes Acquisition of UNT (see below)
Jun. 12, 2023 – Gruppo Florence Acquires ABC Ricami, Effebi and A.L.B.A.
Gruppo Florence has acquired embroidery specialist ABC Ricami and in furtherance of its creation of its first dedicated unit for leather goods, the group has acquired Scandicci-based leather handbag manufacturer Effebi srl, and small leather goods supplier A.L.B.A. srl. The terms of the new acquisitions have not been disclosed.
Jun. 6, 2023 – Prada and Zegna Take Stake in Luigi Fedeli e Figlio
Prada and Zegna have acquired a minority stake in Luigi Fedeli e Figlio. The luxury fashion groups will restively acquire a 15 percent stake in the Monza, Italy-based knitwear supplier, while the company’s CEO Luigi Fedeli will retain a majority ownership of 70 percent and continue serving in his current role. “This agreement represents a strategic investment to preserve the know-how and tradition of Italian excellence in fine yarn,” Patrizio Bertelli, Prada Group chairman, said in a statement. (Prada and Zegna joined forces in June 2021 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.)
May 30, 2023 – LVMH Métiers d’Art Takes Majority Stake in Nuti Ivo
LVMH Métiers d’Art has acquired a majority stake in Italian tannery Nuti Ivo S.p.A. “With the addition of Nuti Ivo Group, we complete our operations in the leather business, expanding our savoir-faire and product offering while ensuring traceable and sustainable sourcing,” Matteo de Rosa, chief executive officer of LVMH Métiers d’Art, said in a statement. Jean-Baptiste Voisin, LVMH chief strategy officer and president of LVMH Métiers d’Art, said such an acquisition fit into its goal of “ensuring a future, by providing new opportunities to local artisan excellences which, alone, in the new scenarios of the luxury industry, may struggle to maintain an international projection.” (Métiers d’Art is LVMH’s specialist crafts division.)
May 25, 2023 – Permira Takes Majority Stake in Gruppo Florence
Permira has acquired a majority stake in Gruppo Florence in a deal that reportedly values the hub of Italian luxury clothing and leather goods manufacturers at more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion). “With revenues of more than 600 million euros in 2022, Florence groups 26 companies which it acquired over time from owners who reinvested part of the proceeds from the sale of their businesses into the hub,” per Reuters, which reported that Gruppo Florence founder VAM Investments “will reinvest part of the proceeds of the sale into the group, keeping a significant stake.” (Gruppo Florence was founded in 2020 by VAM Investments, the Milan-headquartered private equity firm controlled by former Bulgari Chief Executive Francesco Trapani, who will stay on as the group’s chairman.) Fondo Italiano d’Investimento, a fund controlled by state investor CDP Equity, will also retain a minority holding in Gruppo Florence, while investment holding Italmobiliare will liquidate its stake with a 78 million euro gain.
The transaction is expected to close in Q4 of 2023.
May 4, 2023 – OTB Acquires Majority Stake in Leather Goods Supplier
Only The Brave, S.p.A., the Italian fashion group that owns Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Jil Sander, and Viktor & Rolf has acquired a majority stake in Frassineti, long-term leather goods supplier of the Jil Sander brand. The Renzo Rosso-led group said the deal will enable it to ensure stability in its supply chain and to accelerate growth of Florence-based company. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed beyond that fact that the Frassineti family will retain a minority stake in the company.
Apr. 13, 2023 – LVMH Takes Controlling Stake in Platinum Invest Group
LVMH has entered into an agreement with Andera Partners, Bpifrance, and other shareholders to acquire a majority stake in Platinum Invest Group. The deal is slated to give LVMH control of France-based jewelry producers, Orest and Abysse, and enable Tiffany & Co., which the French conglomerate acquired in January 2021, “to strengthen its production capacities in the region and support the [its] strong growth in fine and high jewelry manufacturing.” The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
In a statement, Tiffany & Co. CEO Anthony Ledru said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Orest and Abysse into the Tiffany & Co family. This acquisition is an important step for our House; it will allow us to reinforce our commitment to the highest level of quality, while expanding our production capacity to meet the growing demand of our clients.” President of Orest and Abysse, Denis De Becker, added: “After years of fruitful collaboration, we are very proud to join the LVMH Group and strengthen our ties with such an iconic house as Tiffany & Co. and, thus, be able to contribute to its growth and development.”
Mar. 29, 2023 – B2B Supply Chain Marketplace Fashinza Raises $30M
Fashinza has raised $30 million in a new round led by Mars Growth Capital and Liquidity Group. The Gurgaon, India-based company – which touts itself as an AI-powered B2B supply chain “marketplace” for fashion brands and retailers – will use the new cash to further its ongoing expansion into the U.S., Gulf region, and Europe. “Fashinza is transforming the global fashion supply chain. Their performance since inception, the strength of their founding team, and their existing global network of manufacturers and customers gave us enough confidence in their ability to scale this business and sustain in the medium to long-term,” Navas Ebin, Managing Director of APAC for Mars Growth Capital and Liquidity Group, said in connection with the round.
Mar 28, 2023 – Burberry to Acquire Arm of Outwear Supplier for €21M
Burberry has entered into an agreement to acquire a business from longstanding Italian supplier, Pattern SpA, for 21 million euros ($22.83 million). In a statement, Burberry revealed that it has partnered with Pattern for almost two decades to produce luxury ready-to-wear including quilts and downs at the Italian company’s product development site in Turin, Italy. “With this investment, Burberry will secure capacity, build technical outerwear capability and further embed sustainability into its value chain,” the company said, confirming that “approximately 70 of Pattern’s employees in Turin will join Burberry on completion of the acquisition, expected later this year, [and] Pattern will continue to operate the parts of the business not included in the transaction.” As part of the deal, Burberry will not only hire 70 employees from its supplier but also acquire the relevant equipment and inventory.
Burberry CEO Jonathan Akeroyd commented: “This strategic investment is an important next step in bringing our outerwear category to full potential. It will enhance our capabilities, building on our strong foundations in the UK, and provide greater control over the quality, delivery and sustainability of our products. It’s an exciting development and I am delighted to welcome our new colleagues on board.”
Mar. 13, 2023 – Kering to Acquire Eyewear Manufacturer UNT
Kering Eyewear has signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the share capital of “long-term, high-quality supplier [and] business partner” UNT, Usinage & Nouvelles Technologies in order “to strengthen its position in the luxury eyewear industry.” In a release, Kering revealed that “this transaction represents another important step in the industrial development strategy of Kering Eyewear, which controls its supply chain through strategic partnerships with industry-leading manufacturers.” It further asserted that the deal “represents the opportunity to create an integrated luxury eyewear platform with best-in-class manufacturing capabilities, facilities and talents.”
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Kering confirmed that the transaction is subject to the clearance by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023.
UPDATED (Jun. 30, 2023): Kering Eyewear confirmed that is has completed the acquisition of UNT, Usinage & Nouvelles Technologies, in accordance with the terms announced on March 13, 2023, and after having received clearance from the relevant antitrust authorities.
Jan. 4, 2023 – Gruppo Florence Acquires Ricamificio GS
Gruppo Florence has acquired Ricamificio GS, a firm known for its techniques, including embroidery, screen printing, stitching, etc., for an disclosed sum. Ricamificio GS counts major luxury brands, including Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and Lanvin, as clients.
Dec. 7, 2022 – Chanel Acquires Denim Supplier Fashionart
Chanel has acquired a majority stake in longstanding denim supplier Fashionart. Chanel confirmed that it has acquired a 60 percent in the company for an undisclosed sum. Not limited to producing denim for Chanel, Fashionart acts as a supplier for Burberry and Balmain, among other brands, and says it will use the new cash to expand its staff and production capabilities.
Nov. 14, 2022 – Gruppo Florence Acquires Ideal Blue Manifatture
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.”
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