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Tod’s Group to Go Private in Deal with L Catterton

Ties run deep between the Della Valle family that controls Tod’s and L Catterton backer LVMH. The delisting could allow Tod’s to invest heavily in promoting its brands while cleaning up distribution away from the scrutiny of public markets.
Tod's Group To Go Private in Deal with L Catterton.
Tod’s has announced plans to go private in a deal with private equity firm L Catterton. (Getty Images)

Tod’s has announced plans to go private in a deal with LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton that would see the Italian luxury shoemaker delist from the Milan bourse. The Della Valle family is set to retain majority ownership of the company with 54 percent of total share capital, while L Catterton would have 36 percent. Minority shareholder LVMH, which owns 10 percent of Tod’s, is maintaining its stake.

L Catterton will pay €512 million ($552 million) or €43 per share for its stake in Tod’s, a 17.6 percent premium on the share price on Feb. 9, the last trading day before the announcement. The news comes after a previous plan to go private, announced in August 2022, was scrapped.

Tod’s Group, which includes the Tod’s, Roger Vivier, Hogan and Fay brands, grew sales steadily throughout the 2000s to become a billion-dollar business. But momentum stalled in the mid-2010s as major department stores, on which the group was reliant, struggled to maintain relevance and consumer interest in more youthful, streetwear-inflected concepts surged. Then came Covid-19 which hammered travel retail, office attire and occasion wear, channels and categories that were key for the group. Sales only surpassed their 2015 peak last year, rising 11.9 percent to €1.12 billion.

Delisting Tod’s could allow for higher marketing spend to reinvigorate the group’s brands, as well as more radical moves to clean up distribution away from the scrutiny of public markets: the company’s full-price business suffers from a high exposure to outlets and discount-prone wholesalers, but rewiring distribution during a broader slowdown in luxury demand could require a short-term financial hit.

“I am very pleased to announce this transaction, which will provide further benefits to the future development of Tod’s Group, built through continuous investments and challenging goals,” Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle said in a statement. “We determine that leaving the stock exchange now — with which we have always had excellent relationship — is the most appropriate strategic choice.”

The ties between LVMH and Tod’s run deep. Della Valle has sat on the board of the French luxury conglomerate since 2002, and LVMH raised its stake in Tod’s to 10 percent in 2021, when the Italian group was struggling to bounce back from the pandemic. Top LVMH executives including Sidney Toledano and Michael Burke are a regular sight at the Paris runway shows of Della Valle’s relaunched Schiaparelli brand.

LVMH has increasingly leaned on L Catterton — a fund specialised in consumer businesses that LVMH and Groupe Arnault founded in 2016 as a joint venture with US private equity giant Catterton — to make strategic plays in fashion without acquiring brands outright, or having to manage them via its Fashion Group unit comprising fast-growing luxury houses like Celine and Loewe. The fund masterminded Birkenstock’s rapid expansion and IPO last year, and took a controlling stake in Italian fashion label Etro in 2021.

Matteo Tamburini, who was appointed creative director of Tod’s in December, will show his first collection during Milan Fashion Week later this month.

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