Agnelli family buys 24 per cent stake in Christian Louboutin

Italy’s billionaire Agnelli household has continued its growth into the luxurious sector with the acquisition of a stake in French luxurious shoe maker Christian Louboutin. 

Exor, the economic dynasty’s holding firm, stated on Monday it would make investments €541m within the French model, whose signature design is a towering stiletto with red-lacquered soles, to amass a 24 per cent stake.

The deal values the 30-year-old Paris-based model, named after its eponymous designer and co-founder, at a complete of €2.3bn. Exor will even appoint two of the seven board members.

The funding follows Exor’s acquisition final December of a majority stake in Chinese luxurious life-style label Shang Xia, which is co-owned by France’s Hermès. It indicators the Agnelli household’s additional push into the luxurious sector, which it has flagged for growth alongside tech, and the place the Arnault, Pinault and Rupert households dominate model possession by means of their LVMH, Kering and Richemont holding firms. 

Louboutin, whose sneakers are usually worn by royalty and Hollywood stars, has declined many provides to purchase the corporate over time, together with from LVMH, the world’s largest luxurious group by revenues. When requested in a 2018 Financial Times interview if Christian Louboutin would stay impartial, he stated: “You can never say forever, but it’s been 27 years and for me it’s an important thing to be free.” 

In a press release on Monday, Louboutin stated Exor’s “steady long-term focus and a strong entrepreneurial culture” makes it the suitable accomplice to “write a new page in the history of our Maison.” 

“The partner with whom we would associate should respect our values, be open minded and should have an ambitious, young dynamism,” he added. Louboutin will retain the corporate’s majority stake along with his enterprise accomplice, Bruno Chambelland.

The deal comes after gross sales within the wider luxurious sector contracted final yr, as restrictions on worldwide journey and widespread lockdowns to fight the march of the coronavirus pandemic curbed spending on high-end items.

Sales have been set to contract 22 per cent in 2020 to achieve €217bn globally, representing a return to 2014 ranges, and they’re going to take as much as three years to recuperate, in keeping with a November examine by consultancy Bain and Altagamma, the Italian luxurious affiliation.

Christian Louboutin stated the model fared nicely through the pandemic because of its current ecommerce platform, which it plans to develop additional. Exor had beforehand indicated the tech and luxurious sectors as its new areas of focus.

John Elkann, the Agnelli household scion and Exor’s chief government, stated: “Christian Louboutin’s extraordinary creativity, energy and unique vision are precisely the qualities needed to build a great company.”

Elkann and Louboutin have recognized one another for a few years and each insist their partnership relies on “mutual trust”. Exor will likely be a long-term investor which is able to assist help the corporate’s additional development, the corporate stated. 

The Christian Louboutin stake marks Exor’s third funding alongside French companions after the blockbuster Fiat Chrysler and PSA merger was finalised final month to create Stellantis, the world’s sixth car producer. 

Exor’s firepower to do additional acquisitions was boosted by the €1bn in dividends it reaped following the deal.