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La Perla sold to investment firm Sapinda as it pledges to keep production in Europe

Lauretta Roberts
26 February 2018

Luxury Italian lingerie business has been sold to investment house Sapinda Holdings after talks with a potential Chinese buyer stalled over a disagreement with its plans to move production out of Italy.

According to Reuters, Fosun International, which last week won a bidding war to buy French couture house Lanvin, lost out in this deal because it intended to move production to China. An exclusive period of talks with Fosun had ended in mid-January and while talks with Fosun had continued Sapinda stepped in and secured the deal.

Sapinda is a vehicle co-founded by German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst, and it has pledged that production of the brand's upmarket lingerie will remain in Italy and Portugal and that it will invest further in the brand.

Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scagli has owned UK-headquartered La Perla since 2013 having bought it at a court-controlled auction using his family holding company Pacific Global Management. Scagli invested considerable sums in the then struggling business and expanded its interests globally, including a push into Asia.

"We are delighted that Sapinda has acquired La Perla to continue our vision of creating the leading global luxury fashion brand that explores the feminine imagination in all its facets. I have known Sapinda and its CEO for many years and have worked with him a number of times in the past." Scagli said in a statement.

“I know that Sapinda has the necessary resources to take La Perla to the next level and continue my vision of building a global luxury brand, but keeping production in Europe,” he added.

Windhorst added: “We are prepared to further invest, to improve the financial performance of the company and to continue implementing Silvio’s vision for La Perla and its ‘Made in Italy’ creations.

“We have been looking to invest in the luxury goods sector for a while, and after analysing a number of opportunities during the last few months, we are pleased that we were able to secure the acquisition of La Perla,” he said.

The deal will be a bump in the road for Fosun's ambitions to build a global luxury conglomerate. The business already owns French leisure group Club Med, Italian menswear brand Caruso, accessories brand Folli Follie, and St John Knits in the US, and had pledged it will grow its interests in luxury further.

Fellow Chinese group Shandong Ruyi, which owns French group SMCP (Sandro Maje Claudie Pierlot) and Bally among others has also set out its ambitions to become a major global player in luxury saying it intends to create "the LVMH of China".

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