Hermes Sells Gaultier Stake To Spanish Fashion House Puig

Looks like Hermes and Jean-Paul Gaultier are finally going their separate ways. The Paris-based fashion house had partnered with the French designer’s firm since 1999. But fashion industry reports say that Spanish perfume firm Puig Beauty and Fashion Group has bought up a 60 percent share in the company. The 60 percent share would make Puig the controlling partner.

Hermes had revealed last month that it was looking for buyers for Gaultier. Now, the family-owned company has revealed that it sold a 45 percent stake in the Gaultier label for 16 million euros (about $24 million). In addition to the shares, Puig will also be inheriting a 14 million euro debt as part of the deal.

Patrick Thomas, chief executive of Hermes, admitted to being “delighted” about the move. He said that he was convinced that the new partnership between Gaultier and Puig would take “the house to new highs”. Meanwhile, Jean-Paul Gaultier, the designer himself, does not seem to be apprehensive about the change of guard. Gaultier himself is selling 15 percent of his own stake to add to the 45 percent sold by Hermes. The French designer clearly states that it does not matter to him who the management is. All he cares about is having the freedom to concentrate on clothes.

The man certainly should be left free to do what he does best – which is, work his fashion magic. Puig’s chairman and executive, Marc Puig, admitted that the company would continue the development of the Gaultier brand, which he described as “a brand with great creativity”. For those unfamiliar with the Barcelona-based Puig, here is some info. Puig is a fashion house that owns luxury fashion brands like Nina Ricci, Carolina Herrerra and Paco Rabonne. But it is best known for its work in the perfume segment. Puig creates fragrances for Commes des Garcon, Prada and Antonio Banderas. Puig’s move to acquire Gaultier stems from its global ambitions. The company is already well-established in the European markets.

Meanwhile. Hermes is doing its best to negate LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton’s hold over the family-owned company. Sometime ago, after LVMH increased its stake in Hermes to 20 percent of the equity, there was much apprehension over whether the Bernard Arnault-held conglomerate was looking to eventually take over the Paris-based firm. Hermes attempt to move away from Gaultier would have partly arisen from its plans to reduce LVMH’s control over its running. The Hermes family would want to keep ownership in their hands for as long as possible anyway.

As for Gaultier, the new association with Puig should spell good news for his perfume label. Gaultier’s fragrances have a loyal fan following and has been enjoying success over the long period. The brand does have a number of cons to its name. But Puig may have been attracted by its success in the area of fragrances. Gaultier’s haute couture line has a clientele but does not make much profit. However, under the new deal, the French designer will be allowed to carry on with his high-fashion dreams as well. After all, he has dressed the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga.

Via: The New York Times

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