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Chinese group Fosun takes majority stake in Lanvin

Lauretta Roberts
22 February 2018

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International has made its most high profile fashion acquisition yet buying a majority stake in France's oldest surviving couture house Lanvin.

Lanvin has been struggling for the past two to three years since the shock departure of its popular designer Alber Elbaz in October 2015, who was credited with reviving the brand under his stewardship. He is understood to have clashed with the the brand's former majority shareholder Taiwan-based media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang, who has retained a minority stake.

Fosun, which owns French leisure group Club Med, Italian menswear brand Caruso, accessories brand Folli Follie, and St John Knits in the US, has vowed to invest a significant sum in Lanvin, believed to be around €100m, to “enter a new phase of expansion”.

“As China becomes the main growth driver of the global luxury market, we are confident that Fosun can bring great incremental value to Lanvin with our global resources and expertise, while being absolutely committed to Lanvin’s high luxury positioning,” said Joann Cheng, vice chief financial officer of Fosun International.

Fosun, which is controlled by the billionaire Guo Guangchang, has indicated that it is keen to expand its interests in luxury fashion and is reported to have entered into acquisition discussions with luxury lingerie label La Perla. It is said to have beaten off competition from the Midde East's Mayhoola, owner of Valentino and Balmain, to land 129-year-old Lanvin, which is named after is founder Jeanne Lanvin.

The news comes on the back of a statement from fellow Chinese group Shandgong Ruyi that it had ambitions to become "the LVMH of China" - a reference to the French conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Fendi and Christian Dior, among others.

Shandong Ruyi owns a majority stake in French accessible luxury group SMCP (Sandro Maje Claudie Pierlot), Swiss luxury brand Bally, as well as Aquascutum and Hong Kong menswear group Trinity, the owner of bespoke tailor Gieves & Hawkes.

Having been falsely linked to a potential purchases of Sir Philip Green's high street chain Arcadia, Shandong Ruyi issued a statement to say it had no immediate acquisitions in its sights but it continued to look for opportunities. "The brands it is to acquire have to be aligned with its corporate development strategy and positioning, have a close link with the capital market, boast good development and high growth prospects, plus be well-loved and recognised by consumers, able to sway fashion trends and superb in design,” it said.

The financial details of the Lanvin deal were not disclosed.

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