LUXURIOUS SHOPPING: EXOR BUYS LOUBOUTIN
Exor, the financial holding of the Italian billionaire Agnelli family, continues its shopping into the luxury sector by the purchase of a stake of French shoemaker: Christian Louboutin.
On the 8th of March, John Elkann declared the acquisition of 24% shares of Louboutin with a €541m investment in the red sole famous stiletto brand, appointing two of the seven members of the company's board of directors. The closing of the transaction is scheduled for the second quarter of the year.
Last December, the CEO of the company had announced the re-introduction on Exor’s asset of the majority of the Chinese label Shang Xia (who is co-owner of the French Maison Hermès) with an €80 million investment: it looks clear that the Agnelli family is pushing into the luxury market, where the Arnault, Pinault, and Rupert dominate through their LVMH, Kering and Richemont holding.
Throughout the decades, Christian Louboutin has diversified its production from men’s footwear to all types of leather goods, featuring the outfits of celebrities and royals.
The brand owns 150 retails stores located along 30 countries, without considering the network of relationships in the premium wholesale world and e-commerce: according to the Financial Times, Exor values the Parisian brand at around €2.3 billion (no data is available on the turnover of the luxury women's footwear brand), claiming that there is still space for the company to grow in the Chinese market.
In a 2018 Financial Times interview, Christian Louboutin, when asked if he would remain independent, said: “You can never say forever, but it’s been 27 years and for me it’s an important thing to be free.”
On March 8th, Louboutin’s words were “Exor’s steady long-term focus and a strong entrepreneurial culture makes it the right partner to write a new page in the history of our Maison. The partner with whom we would associate should respect our values, be open minded and should have an ambitious, young dynamism.”
“Mutual trust” are the words used by Elkann and Louboutin when asked to describe their partnership. “Exor will be a long-term investor which will help support the company’s further growth” the company said.
Despite the acquisition, Louboutin will maintain the company’s majority stake beside his business partner, Bruno Chambelland. The 24% stake in Louboutin will thus enrich the Agnelli safe's asset collection, with Exor's net worth reaching € 24 billion: among the main investments are Stellantis, the new automotive player born from the merger between FCA and PSA, but also Ferrari, Juventus, PartnerRe, The Economist, Gedi, and Cnh.