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Qatar fund acquires French fashion house Balmain

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A Qatari investment fund, already owner of the Italian Valentino label, will take over French luxury fashion house Balmain, which has become a favourite of film stars, the advisor for the acquisition announced on Tuesday.

[PARIS] A Qatari investment fund, already owner of the Italian Valentino label, will take over French luxury fashion house Balmain, which has become a favourite of film stars, the advisor for the acquisition announced on Tuesday.

"After completing this transaction, Mayhoola for Investments will hold 100 per cent of Balmain's capital," Bucephale Finance, specialists in mergers and acquisitions, said in a statement without revealing how much the Qataris paid for Balmain.

French financial daily Les Echos in reporting on the acquisition said the Qataris offered 485 million euros (S$733.1 million) for Balmain, which is 70 per cent held by the heirs of the former CEO Alain Hivelin who died in December 2014, with the remaining 30 per cent held by management.

The reported Qatari offer was higher than the sale estimates of between 300 to 400 million euros.

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Mayhoola, an investment vehicle supported by the emir of Qatar, "will allow the (Balmain) brand to speed up its development, especially with the opening of new boutiques abroad," said Bucephale in its statement.

The French fashion house was started in 1945 by designer Pierre Balmain and has passed through several hands and periods of financial difficulty over the years.

Then in 2006 Pierre Decarnin, a former stylist at Paco Rabanne, came on board and relaunched the brand, attracting movie stars like Marion Cotillard and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Since 2011, Balmain has gained added momentum under its young artistic director Olivier Rousteing, who has promoted the brand heavily on social media.

Now with the financial support from Qatar, "Balmain, which today only has eight boutiques around the world, including one in New York since April, hopes to follow the same trajectory (as Valentino) thanks to its expansion in the Middle East and the United States," Les Echos reported.

AFP

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