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RUMOR MILL: The merry-go-round list of names of potential investors looking at the Roberto Cavalli brand shows no sign of slowing down. As discussions with private equity firm Permira appear to have hit a bump, media reports have speculated that, separately, Bahrain-based Investcorp, Qatar Holding and a group of investors led by Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller have been eyeing the Italian firm. Bloomberg said the latter may offer to buy between 60 percent and 70 percent of the company for more than 300 million euros, or $408.1 million at current exchange. A source dismissed the rumor as “nonsense.”
In terms of assessment, Permira is said to have valued the firm at around 450 million euros, or $612.1 million. According to a market source, the fund had requested the designer to cut costs — which must not have sat well with Cavalli ahead of the lavish party thrown on his yacht during the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Another source said Cavalli receives phone calls from investors on a daily basis, but that ultimately, the designer still has not made up his mind whether to sell a stake in his company. In August 2009, Cavalli suddenly abandoned plans to sell 30 percent of his business to Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR SpA after lengthy discussions, reportedly over its price tag.