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Diesel owner reported to have made bid for Belstaff

Lauretta Roberts
23 July 2017

The owner of Italian brand Diesel is reported to have tabled a bid for British heritage brand Belstaff in recent weeks.

According to The Sunday Times, Renzo Rosso's OTB Group, which also owns Viktor & Rolf, Marni and Maison Margiela, has made a play to acquire the business, which is being sold by its parent company JAB Luxury, a division of JAB Holdings.

JAB, the investment vehicle of the German Reimann family, is looking to offload its luxury businesses in a bid to focus on its food & beverage and beauty asssets, which include Coty, Krispy Kreme and Jacobs Douwe Egberts. 

It acquired Belstaff for almost £100m in 2011 and began to move the brand upmarket; after the sale its headquarters were moved to Switzerland but in January 2016 they were brought back to the UK as it was revealed the brand was considering an IPO. However float plans were "deprioritised" following the Brexit vote in June of last year.

Belstaff was founded in Staffordshire in 1924 and is best known for its motorcycle jackets. It has risen to prominence in recent years through its celebrity associations. Former footballer and style icon David Beckham has fronted its campaigns and last year it unveiled a collaboration with actress Liv Tyler. It has 13 stores worldwide, five of which are in the UK, and is also sold in prestigious multibrand stores.

JAB is also selling British luxury footwear and accessories brand Jimmy Choo with US group Michael Kors believed to be the front-runner to buy it. However Chinese PE house Hony, which owns Pizza Express, and CVC Capital Partners, the former owner of Debenhams, are also believed to be poised to make a bid. It is understood a least one other unnamed bidder is in the frame; previously US group Coach, which has just completed its purchase of Kate Spade, was linked with a potential bid.

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