Handbag maker Michael Kors is nearing an agreement to buy Gianni Versace after the Italian fashion house known for its baroque designs drew interest from several suitors, people familiar with the plans said. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd is on a mission to strengthen its portfolio of luxury brands and Versace may be the newest addition to the company.
Michael Kors may announce a deal as early as this week that values Versace at about $2 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. Donatella Versace, who has helped run the company with her brother Santo Versace since the murder of Gianni Versace in 1997, has called a meeting with employees Tuesday to announce the sale, according to two people familiar with the situation.
If Michael Kors acquires the brand, the Versace Family will no longer have ownership of its namesake label for the first time since Gianni Versace founded the design house nearly 40 years ago. The glamorous house’s matriarch, Donatella Versace, and the Versace family currently own 80 percent of the company after selling 20 percent to US private equity group Blackstone in 2014. If the purchase goes through, the Versace family will still have a role in the company in some capacity, but Blackstone will sell its stake in the company.
Michael Kors purchases Brittish shoemaker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion last year.