LONDON, United Kingdom — Chinese apparel manufacturer Fujian Septwolves Industry Co. and conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. are among suitors vying for the €600 million ($717 million) luxury leather goods company Bally International AG, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Bally has also drawn interest from Japanese trading firm Itochu Corp. as non-binding offers came in this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.
JAB Holding Co., owned by the billionaire Reimann family, said in April it was reviewing options for the Swiss company to focus on its food and beverage business, which has grown into one of the largest coffee sellers through the acquisitions of Keurig Green Mountain Inc. and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.
JAB in July bought Panera Bread Co. in a deal that valued the bakery-cafe chain at about $7.5 billion, including debt. Also in July, the firm agreed to sell London-based shoemaker Jimmy Choo Plc to Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. for about 896 million pounds ($1.2 billion).
A representative for JAB declined to comment. Fosun didn’t have an immediate comment and Itochu declined to comment. Septwolves didn’t respond to calls and an email.
Founded in 1990, Septwolves makes and distributes its own menswear brands including “Wolf Totem” and “Owooo,” according to its website. The company last month acquired majority stake in the company that owns the license for the Karl Lagerfeld brand in Greater China, it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Japanese trading house Itochu owned about 34 percent of London-based apparel maker Paul Smith Group Holdings Ltd. as of March, according to its statement. Shanghai-based Fosun group, which controls French resort operator Club Mediterranee SA, also owns Italian suit maker Raffaele Caruso SpA, women’s fashion brand St. John and Greek accessories brand Folli Follie SA.
Founded in Schonenwerd, Switzerland in 1851, Bally makes luxury leather shoes that range from loafers to fur-lined winter boots, as well as belts, bags, wallets and clothing. It was previously owned by U.S. buyout firm TPG, which agreed to sell the firm to JAB in 2008.
By Vinicy Chan and Ruth David, with assistance from Jing Yang de Morel Stephen Stapczynski Sarah Syed and Thomas Buckley; editors: Ben Scent, Timothy Sifert, Amy Thomson.