Valentino is on the selling block, and could go for as much as $852 million.
After drawing rave reviews for couture, the Italian label is reportedly preparing for a sale to an unknown buyer, according to WWD.
But it's a good thing for Valentino. The Italian house, which was purchased in 2007 by the Permira private equity group, returned to profit in 2011; co-creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have slowly and steadily gained critical acclaim for their lovely collections that are modern yet always have a recognizable shot of Valentino DNA. After losing money in 2009, the brand's revenues increased by 18% in 2011. “Valentino has seen increasing interest from a number of potential buyers,” Stefano Sassi, chief executive officer of Valentino, told WWD. “The outstanding work and stylistic vision of creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli and the constant growth of [the] company’s results have generated great attention towards the brand.”
A spokesperson for the Valentino Fashion Group confirmed that it has granted exclusive rights to a "single party" to negotiate an acquisition, so this could happen by the end of July. While there are rumors that the buyer is the royal family of Qatar, (after the Telegraph reported that a "sovereign wealth fund" was the interested buyer) Valentino wouldn't confirm this to WWD. Puig was apparently interested in purchasing Valentino at one point, too. The brand reportedly has a price tag of $852 million at current exchange.