American luxury handbag and clothing designer Michael Kors is buying Italian fashion house Gianni Versace for $2.1bn (£1.6bn).
The deal follows the New York company’s acquisition last year of luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo – made famous by TV series Sex and the City – for $1.35bn (£1.03bn).
It also announced it will rename itself Capri Holdings upon the closing of the deal.
Versace, the Milan-based label founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace, has been run and majority-owned by the family since he was murdered 21 years ago in Miami Beach.
On Monday Michael Kors Holdings was believed to be buying the eponymous fashion house for $2bn (£1.5bn), but the final figure was higher.
There are plans to increase Versace’s 200 retail stores worldwide to 300 and push the share of accessories and footwear revenues from 35% to 60%.
Donatella Versace, Gianni’s sister, who has become the face of the brand, will continue to lead the creative side of the business.
Versace boss Jonathan Akeroyd, a former Alexander McQueen chief executive, will remain in place, as will the rest of the brand’s senior management.
Ms Versace said: “This is a very exciting moment for Versace. It has been more than 20 years since I took over the company along with my brother Santo and daughter Allegra.
“I am proud that Versace remains very strong in both fashion and modern culture.
“Versace is not only synonymous with its iconic and unmistakable style, but with being inclusive and embracing of diversity, as well as empowering people to express themselves.
“Santo, Allegra and I recognise that this next step will allow Versace to reach its full potential.”
She said she has “always admired” Michael Kors chief executive John Idol, and the family believes that being part of the group is “essential to Versace’s long-term success”.
Mr Idol said the company was committed to investing in Versace’s growth, with a goal to grow revenues to more than £2bn (£1.5bn).
“We believe that the strength of the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo brands, and the acquisition of Versace, position us to deliver multiple years of revenue and earnings growth,” he said.
Michael Kors, best-known for its leather handbags, has made clear its ambition to grow its stable of high-end fashion brands in an industry still dominated by European players such as Louis Vuitton owner LVMH.
Versace is currently 80% controlled by the late designer’s family, with private equity firm Blackstone holding a 20% stake.
From – SkyNews