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A New Era at Versace: Allegra Beck to Inherit 50% of Firm on June 30

Allegra Beck turns 18 on June 30, at which time she will take full control of the 50 percent stake in Versace bequeathed by her uncle, Gianni Versace.

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Santo Versace

Santo Versace

Photo By WWD Staff

MILAN — It’s the stuff of any teenager’s dreams — a party at a cavernous nightclub, a performance from hip-hop sensation Pharrell Williams and customized T-shirts for 100 of her closest friends.

That’s what Allegra Beck got on Saturday to celebrate her 18th birthday, which actually takes place on June 30. But her biggest present is yet to come: At the end of the month, Beck will inherit full control of the 50 percent stake in Versace that was bequeathed to her by her uncle, Gianni Versace.

The imminent transfer of power means the teenager will hold the single-largest stake in the company, with her mother, Donatella, owning 20 percent and her uncle, Santo, the remaining 30 percent.

And the new power structure is generating enough newsprint to wallpaper the company’s sprawling headquarters on Via Gesù.

But those counting down the days to drama may need to think again — sources close to the teen stress the birthday will come and go without boardroom tremors. A Versace spokesman declined to comment on Allegra Beck’s intentions and their potential impact on the company, but it’s widespread knowledge that she is currently wrapping up her studies in Italy and plans to head to a U.S. college in the fall. Such an itinerary doesn’t allow for a lot of free time to take on a managerial role in the company, especially a company in the midst of a turnaround.

As reported by WWD over the last few months, Versace has taken a series of steps aimed at tightening its operations and preparing it for new investment. Daniele Ballestrazzi, the company’s interim chief executive, said in March that the firm had appointed Lazard Frères and Credit Suisse First Boston to find a minority investor, with the eventual plan of taking Versace public.

The investment could come as early as this year. Nearly every conceivable fund name has circulated in the local press as potential buyers, from Doughty Hanson to Apax Partners to Italian-led Clessidra. Apax declined to comment for this article and Doughty Hanson and Clessidra didn’t return calls for comment.

“This is one of the few legendary brands around,” Ballestrazzi said. “The time has come to resume the project” of taking the company public, which had been Gianni Versace’s dream before he was murdered.
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