Where Have All the Independent Fashion Houses Gone?

As reported by Bloomberg, Michael Kors bought Versace on Tuesday for $2.1 billion, further dwindling the list of remaining independent fashion houses.

Over the last few years, quite a few “big names — from Dior to Gucci to Yves Saint Laurent — have found shelter under the roofs of global luxury [groups] like Kering SA or LVMH.”

Now, according to the story, “Michael Kors and U.S. rival Tapestry Inc., along with China’s Shandong Ruyi and Fosun International Ltd., are looking to emulate the European giants’ multi-brand approach, even as the number of potential targets shrinks.”

While small, the list of potential targets is still fairly impressive. Headlined by the likes of Chanel, Prada, and Burberry, it also includes Armani, Ferragamo, Moncler, Bruno Cucinelli, and Tod’s, all of whom are valued at well over $2 billion.

But most of those companies seem to have retained independence by choice. Chanel, for instance, is a juggernaut ($9.6 billion in sales in 2017) and has said publicly that “that it wants to remain independent and focus on the long term,” while Giorgio Armani is reportedly employing (and I’m paraphrasing here) a pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-fingers philosophy when it comes to company control.

Burberry, on the other hand, could be a potential acquisition target due to relatively “few hurdles to a takeover” except for “a price tag that could easily creep above 10 billion pounds.”

It’s a holding company’s world. We’re just living in it.

You can read more about it at Bloomberg.

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  • They still exist. Some consolidation is expected as companies near 75 years to 100 years for a variety of reasons.