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PPR stock slipped 0.1 percent to close on Thursday at $102.77, or 87.10 euros on the Paris Bourse.
Gucci went public in November 1995, its shares debuting on the New York and Amsterdam stock exchanges. Gucci originally applied to list shares on the Milan exchange, but market regulator Consob turned down its request. There was speculation that losses at the company — linked to ongoing restructuring efforts — shook Consob’s confidence in Gucci.
Ultimately Gucci triumphed on its market debut, with its share price rallying 22.2 percent on the first day of trading to close at $26.88.
“It was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me in my working life,” De Sole said at the time about the NYSE debut. “There was pandemonium at the booth, and the noise on the floor was incredible.”
The IPO marked the beginning of a new era for Gucci, founded in 1923 by Guccio Gucci. Just a few years earlier, Bahrain-based investment bank Investcorp and Maurizio Gucci were wrestling for control of the Florentine fashion house.
When Investcorp acquired full control of Gucci in late 1993, the firm was financially and operationally crippled and near liquidation. After an emergency rescue plan, which included immediate capital infusions to pay back salaries and suppliers, as well as emergency mediation sessions with angry union leaders, Gucci managed to break even or post a small profit in 1993.
In fact, Gucci’s IPO helped set the stage for one of fashion’s most gripping power plays, when LVMH launched a hostile takeover bid for Gucci in early 1999. In one of the more dramatic developments, Prada helped LVMH chief Bernard Arnault by selling its 10 percent Gucci stake to the French group after De Sole rebuffed Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli’s advances for a partnership.
In March 1999, PPR stepped in as Gucci’s white knight, paying some $3 billion for a 40 percent share in the fashion company. That cash allowed De Sole and Ford to form a multibrand group comprising labels such as Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Veneta, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.