MILAN, Italy — Qatar Holding and an Italian state-owned investment fund have expressed interest in the luxury fashion house Versace, according to the Italian daily newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. Qatar Holding, part of the gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund and current owner of London department store Harrods, is said to be “looking carefully” at Versace, along with the Fondo Strategico Italiano, or FSI, the Italian investment fund owned by state financing company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
The considerations may be part of a joint venture agreement between Qatar Holding and FSI, finalised last November, to invest in Italian companies in sectors including food and luxury fashion.
In April, Versace chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris indicated that the company, founded in 1978 and still owned by creative director Donatella Versace and other members of the Versace family, was “exploring options which could accelerate the brand’s further success,” according to the Financial Times.
At the time, Ferraris also said that taking on additional investment would enable the brand to expand in new geographies, notably Asia, but did not indicate that any discussions were underway and ruled out the possibility of an IPO. The brand returned to profitability in 2011 after years of underperformance; last year, revenue grew 20 percent to €408 million.