Qatari investment fund buys French fashion house Balmain

The sale of Balmain will allow the brand to open new stores around the world, accelerating its development, say advisers. The fashion house, founded by Pierre Balmain in 1945, has enjoyed strong growth since creative director Olivier Rousteing joined
The sale of Balmain will allow the brand to open new stores around the world, accelerating its development, say advisers. The fashion house, founded by Pierre Balmain in 1945, has enjoyed strong growth since creative director Olivier Rousteing joined in 2011.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • Mayhoola for Investments, an investment fund backed by the Emir of Qatar, has acquired French fashion house Balmain, adding a brand favoured by Kim Kardashian to a roster of labels that includes Italy's Valentino.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though a person familiar with the matter said Mayhoola agreed to pay close to €500 million (S$756 million).

The acquisition of 100 per cent of Balmain from shareholders including France's Hivelin family will allow the brand to accelerate its development by opening new stores around the world, advisers Bucephale Finance said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Balmain has become one of the most talked about fashion brands under creative director Olivier Rousteing, whose Instagram account is peppered with images of reality television star Kardashian and her family wearing his military-inspired designs.

The fashion house, founded by Pierre Balmain in 1945 and revived in 1995 by Alain Hivelin, has enjoyed strong growth since Mr Rousteing joined in 2011, according to the statement.

Mayhoola, which describes itself as a Qatari company focused on local and global investments, also owns Valentino, which is considering selling shares in an initial public offering as early as next year after nearly doubling profit on revenue of more than US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) in 2015.

Mayhoola did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The acquisition of Balmain is the second fashion deal this week by Middle Eastern investors after Bahrain investment house Investcorp Bank BSC purchased 55 per cent of Italian menswear maker Corneliani.

The transactions come as demand for luxury goods cools, with consultants Bain & Co estimating global sales will expand at best by 2 per cent this year, the second-weakest rate since 2009.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Qatari investment fund buys French fashion house Balmain'. Print Edition | Subscribe