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Report: Kering in Talks to Acquire Tom Ford

The French luxury conglomerate has been competing with beauty giant Estée Lauder for the prized asset, emerging as the frontrunner, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Tom Ford the designer on the runway.
Estée Lauder was also in talks to buy Tom Ford in August, WSJ reported. (Getty Images)

Kering is in advanced talks to buy Tom Ford, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday afternoon, citing people familiar with the matter.

The luxury giant, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, was competing with cosmetics juggernaut Estée Lauder for Tom Ford, a privately held menswear and beauty business, and has emerged as the frontrunner, sources told the Journal.

Tom Ford has been exploring the possibility of a sale since this summer, according to market reports. In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Estée Lauder was in talks to buy the brand in a deal valued at $3 billion.

For Ford, a sale to Kering would amount to something of a full circle. In the 1990s, the then-unknown Texan designer was employed by Kering precursor Gucci Group, where he performed wonders for the group’s flagship mega-brand. Kering declined to comment.

In its most recent quarter, Kering posted year-over-year sales growth of 14 percent, in part driven by booming consumer demand for Saint Laurent. Still, Kering’s post-pandemic performance has lagged behind rivals in the luxury sector. LVMH, for instance, saw sales rise 22 percent in its fashion and leather goods division in its most recent quarter.

Kering has been eyeing M&A opportunities for years, including Versace in 2018. It has also explored deals with Moncler and Prada, reportedly.

Further Reading

With flagship brand Gucci turning a corner and the French group’s smaller brands still surging ahead, chairman François-Henri Pinault laid out a roadmap for Kering’s next chapter.

Flagship brand Gucci is bouncing back, but has yet to recapture the heat of its pre-pandemic boom times. Signs are growing that the French group will seek a transformational deal.

Should Kering sort out brands like Brioni? Go all-out to create a third blockbuster alongside Gucci and Saint Laurent? Or plug gaps in its portfolio to balance its soft-luxury skew?

About the author
Cathaleen Chen
Cathaleen Chen

Cathaleen Chen is Retail Correspondent at The Business of Fashion. She is based in New York and drives BoF’s coverage of the retail and direct-to-consumer sectors.

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