Sonia Rykiel to sell 80 per cent share to Fung Brands

Fung Brands and Sonia Rykiel are said to be in exclusive talks to form a partnership. The billionaire brothers Victor and William Fung, are in talks to buy an 80 per cent stake, whilst the Rykiel family, who founded the brand in 1968, would retain the other 20 per cent stake in the fashion house.

The financial terms have not yet been disclosed. A spokeswoman had said that discussions should be completed in the "coming days or weeks, depending on the legal or administrative steps"

Nathalie Rykiel, daughter of its founder and the companies chairman and artistic director, said that last year she had authorised bankers Edmond de Rothschild to find a partner to help develop the fashion house.

“I have taken this wonderful brand as far as possible but this economic model was perhaps no longer viable, and I needed the financial and strategic support of a large group to develop Sonia Rykiel internationally,” said Ms Rykiel.

The Fung family is the largest shareholder in Hong Kong- listed Li & Fung Ltd., the largest supplier of consumer goods to giant retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Marks & Spencer Group Plc. Since being founded last year, Fung Brands has acquired majority stakes in French shoe brand Robert Clergerie and Belgian leather goods concern Delvaux.

Jean-Marc Loubier, chairman and chief executive of Fung Brands, and formerly of Celine, Louis Vuitton and Escada has told the Financial Times that the aim of the fund was to “invest in high-end or luxury companies with a history and specific knowhow and to develop them. New money will not only protect the past but help guarantee the future of this strong brand by helping to develop it worldwide”.

The announcement comes just two weeks after it was announced that Alexandre Malgouyres will become its new global communications director from the first of February.


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