Seven years after Permira bought a controlling stake in German fashion house Hugo Boss, the private equity firm reportedly wants out.
Permira has slowly been selling small amounts of its shares over the past few years: It decreased its stake by 6.4 percent in November 2011, 10 percent in May 2013 and 5.6 percent in May 2014. Now, according to Bloomberg and WWD, it is looking to unload its remaining ~50 percent stake in the brand. A rep for Hugo Boss did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
There isn't an obvious reason why Permira would want to cut its ties to Hugo Boss. The brand appears to be doing well: For instance, womenswear sales went up 13 percent in the first half of 2014, thanks in part to buzz brought by new creative director Jason Wu, and the brand remains a go-to for relatively affordable men's suits. Shares in Hugo Boss have quintupled in the past five years, according to WWD.
Perhaps Permira simply wants to get out while the getting is good. There have been reports recently that it's had its eye on Roberto Cavalli, and a sale of Hugo Boss would undoubtedly provide it with the capital needed to snatch up the Italian fashion house.
Selling Hugo Boss would mark the loss of its last high-end fashion brand (unless/until it buys Cavalli). It sold off Valentino in 2012 and Proenza Schouler in 2011.