Kering reportedly in talks to acquire Tom Ford
French luxury giant Kering, owner of Gucci, is said to be in advanced talks to buy U.S. fashion brand Tom Ford, from the American designer of the same name, according to sources, as reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Kering is in a close race with other large companies to secure Tom Ford, particularly Estée Lauder, who is also rumoured to be in the running for Tom Ford. But, the French company seems to have taken the lead. According to sources cited by the WSJ, an agreement could be reached very soon. However, the luxury giant, helmed by François-Henri Pinault, has not yet confirmed any deal.
The WSJ first reported last August that Estée Lauder was in talks to acquire Tom Ford, in a deal that could have been worth $3 billion or more, thus representing the largest acquisition ever made by the American cosmetics giant. However, it is possible that the price has fallen, given today's precarious market environment and current geopolitical crisis, which has led to almost unprecedented inflationary pressures and dramatically increased procurement costs around the world.
A possibility highlighted by the disappointing results and forecast published by Estée Lauder last Wednesday, for its first quarter ended September 30, in which it recorded a drop in sales of 11%, to $4.39 billion (4.44 billion euros), with a net profit down $103 million, compared to the same period last year.
Estée Lauder also closed the fourth quarter of 2021/22 with a 5% decrease in organic sales, impacted by the lockdowns for the 'Zero Covid' policy in China and the slowdown in orders from U.S. retailers. The results saw the New York-based beauty company, founded in 1946, lower its financial forecast.
Kering, on the other hand, has managed to ride a sort of post-pandemic sales boom, especially across its Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga brands, as revenge shopping and the desire to return to normalcy manifested through its wealthy customer base; those who have shown themselves to be more resilient, despite the exponential rise in inflation and continue to spend on expensive bags, watches and clothes.
Last month, Kering saw a higher-than-expected sales increase, partly supported by U.S. tourists, who spent freely in Paris and other European capitals. The company has a market value of almost 60 billion euros which, according to the WSJ, would not make Tom Ford an extremely expensive asset to acquire.
Tom Ford, best known for menswear, although it also sells womenswear and accessories, as well as a fast-growing line of high-end cosmetics and perfumes, was founded in 2005 in New York City by its namesake designer (and now film director) from the United States.
Before taking on his own label, Ford shot to fame at Gucci (now part of Kering), when he managed to relaunch the Florentine brand as its creative director between 1994 and 2004 .
The WSJ reported months ago that Estée Lauder was particularly interested in Tom Ford's Beauty business, with whom the former has a long-standing licensing deal. But a deal with Kering could make more strategic sense, given the French group's experience in high-end fashion and accessories. Tom Ford could use Kering's experience, expertise and savoir-faire to grow his women's accessories business, said one of the sources.
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