Dutch investment company Sapinda in surprise La Perla acquisition
Italian luxury lingerie label La Perla has a new owner, but the name of the successful bidder is something of a surprise. A few weeks ago, La Perla, whose range now also includes ready-to-wear collections, announced it had entered into exclusive negotiations with Chinese group Fosun, which recently bought Parisian fashion label Lanvin. But the negotiations fell through, and now the lingerie label's new owner is Sapinda Holding BV, an Amsterdam-based investment company.
La Perla has been owned since 2013 by Italian businessman Silvio Scaglia via its Pacific Global Management holding company. Scaglia had restructured the brand's organisation and had been looking for a buyer for some months. Once in financial difficulties, La Perla, founded in the 1950s, enjoyed a new lease of life under Scaglia, diversifying its business and placing a special emphasis on women's and men's ready-to-wear, as it turned into a fully fledged lifestyle label. After La Perla's headquarters relocated to London - though its ateliers are still based in Bologna - the label’s Italian connection is now even more tenuous, having changed hands from Silvio Scaglia to Sapinda.
La Perla has been under the creative leadership of Julia Haart for nearly two years, and currently operates 150 monobrand stores worldwide, notably thanks to its retail expansion in Asia in the last few years. The long-established label was founded by Ada Masotti and still manufactures part of its collections in its birthplace, Bologna, though now it is increasingly relying on a 'Made in Europe' appeal.
"We are delighted that Sapinda has bought La Perla, to pursue its vision of creating the world's leading luxury fashion label, exploring the feminine imagination in all its facets," said Silvio Scaglia in a press release. "I have known Sapinda and its CEO Lars Windhorst for many years, and I have worked with him several times in the past. I know that Sapinda has the resources necessary to bring La Perla to the next level and continue my vision of creating a worldwide luxury brand, while keeping its production in Europe," added Scaglia.
"Silvio and his team made a remarkable job in fostering the company, within a sector which continues to enjoy a huge growth potential," said the CEO of Sapinda, adding that "we are ready to invest more, to improve the company's financial performance and continue to implement Silvio's vision for La Perla and its 'Made in Italy' creations. We have been trying to invest in the luxury industry for some time and, after assessing a number of opportunities in the last few months, we are happy to have been able to strike a deal with la Perla."
Sapinda Holding BV is a Dutch investment company with offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and London. Its office in the UK capital is located at 23 Savile Row, one of the group's rare links with the world of fashion. The Sapinda website introduces the group very succinctly as a company founded in 2009 by a small number of entrepreneurs and wealthy families, interested in exploiting investment opportunities in Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Sapinda Holding's strategy is to invest either in organisations experiencing financial difficulties, often using a Luxembourg-based subsidiary, or in start-ups. Its preferred sectors are energy, mining and new technology.
The company's frontman is co-founder Lars Windhorst, heir to a German industrial fortune and described as a "flamboyant individual" by the financial media. Windhorst had a history of bankruptcy in Germany, before he set up anew in the UK, and his business methods are perhaps a little sharp for the smooth world of finance, his group regularly having to defend some of its affairs in the courts of law.
The strategy Sapinda will implement for La Perla will therefore be under close scrutiny in the coming months.
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