Bloomberg News

Moncler Cancels IPO as France’s Eurazeo Buys 45% Stake

June 06, 2011

(Updates with Eurazeo comments from third paragraph, Carlyle return in ninth.)

June 6 (Bloomberg) -- Moncler SpA, the Italian maker of $1,000 ski jackets, canceled an initial public offering and said investment firm Eurazeo will buy 45 percent in a deal valuing the company at no less than 1.2 billion euros ($1.8 billion).

Eurazeo will become Moncler’s largest investor, replacing U.S. buyout firm Carlyle Group, whose holding will be reduced to 17.8 percent from 48 percent, according to a statement today. Chairman Remo Ruffini’s stake will decline to 32 percent from 38 percent following the transaction.

“As a partner, we will support Remo Ruffini and the management team of Moncler in order to bring Moncler to the next level: a globally recognized luxury brand,” said Virginie Morgon, a board member at Paris-based Eurazeo who led the investment, in the statement.

The implied valuation of Moncler based on today’s deal includes debt and compares with an estimate by Banca IMI SpA analysts last month of as much as 1.28 billion euros excluding borrowings. Imi estimates Moncler’s debt at 145 million euros.

The IPO was canceled because of market conditions, Moncler said, the same reason cited last month by Rhiag SpA, an Italian auto-parts distributor owned by private-equity firm Alpha Associes. Larger luxury-goods maker Prada SpA is pushing ahead with a Hong Kong IPO this month, while Salvatore Ferragamo SpA is planning an Italian offering.

Pulled, Postponed IPOs

A total of 17 IPOs have been pulled or postponed in western Europe this year, compared to eight in the same period a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s a steeper rate than globally, where 79 IPOS were delayed or canceled in 2011, compared with 55 in the same period a year earlier.

“Although small, the deal will help diversify Eurazeo’s portfolio” which is to a large extent exposed to lower-growth businesses, analysts at Cheuvreux Credit Agricole Group wrote in a note to investors today. That’s “good news,” they wrote.

Eurazeo fell 40 cents, or 0.7 percent, to 53.30 euros at 12:08 p.m. in Paris trading.

Carlyle bought a 48 percent stake in Moncler, founded in 1952 in Monastier de Clermont, France, in August 2008. The buyout fund manager, based in Washington, already made more than twice the value of its investment by selling part of its stake to Eurazeo, two people with knowledge of the deal said today. Moncler has posted 19 percent average revenue growth since Carlyle invested.

Expansion Plans

While plans for an IPO of the company, which also owns the Marina Yachting and Henry Cotton’s labels, have been halted, there are still prospects for an offering, Eurazeo Chief Executive Officer Patrick Sayer said on a conference call today. The investment company, which first looked at Moncler in 2008, resumed talks with the skiwear maker at the start of this year.

Eurazeo, which owns stakes in hotel operator Accor SA and car-rental company Europcar Groupe SA, was the only financial firm to hold discussions with Moncler’s owners about an alternative to an IPO, Sayer said. Eurazeo intends to reduce its equity investment from 418 million euros to between 250 million euros and 300 million euros, by selling back stakes to co- investment partners, Sayer said. The Paris firm will have five representatives on the Moncler board.

Eurazeo plans to double Moncler’s number of stores in China and Hong Kong “in the short term,” Morgon said. Moncler currently has five locations in those markets. Eurazeo also has “significant” expansion plans for the brand in the U.S. Moncler has four directly operated stores in the U.S. and the brand is sold in department stores, Morgon said.

--With assistance from Andrew Roberts in Paris and Zijing Wu, David Risser in London. Editors: Jerrold Colten, Jeffrey St.Onge

To contact the reporter on this story: Armorel Kenna in Milan at akenna@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net


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