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Bahrain’s Investcorp eyes Italian luxury brands, with Versace as one of the main targets

Investcorp, one of the Middle East’s largest private equity firms, is on the lookout for Italian luxury and retail brands that want to expand internationally.The Bahrain-based firm, which has stakes in French group PPR’s Gucci unit and US group Tiffany & Co, had US$11.5bn in assets under management as of end-June.

It is highly unlikely that profitable family owned houses such as Armani, Zegna, Ferragamo would be a target, also due to their size. Primary targets could include Versace and Roberto Cavalli which have not weathered the crisis as well.

Economic uncertainty weighed on purchases of European brands last year. The number of acquisitions of western European brands by emerging market investors slowed 5 percent to 326 in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data. Investcorp has become more active in the region as the economy recovered and would continue to invest on a long-term basis. In November, it bought Danish luxury retailer Georg Jensen for US$140m from Axcel Capital Partners.

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