Christian Louboutin Sells $642 Million Stake to Ferrari Owner Exor

Exor, an Agnelli family holding, is to invest 541 million euros (or $642 million at current exchange) in Christian Louboutin to become a 24% shareholder in the Paris-based maker of red-soled shoes.

In a joint statement, the firms said that the partnership would “accelerate the next phase of the company’s development,” citing “significant scope” to expand the brand’s presence in China and extend its digital and e-commerce platforms.

“I have admired over the years Christian’s talent in creating one of the world’s great, independent global luxury brands,” John Elkann, chairman and chief executive of Exor, said in a statement. “We share the same family spirit, culture and values, which are the basis of a strong partnership. Christian Louboutin’s extraordinary creativity, energy and unique vision are precisely the qualities needed to build a great company.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter and suggests the Agnelli family, owners of Ferrari, have a growing appetite for fashion.

In December, Exor said it would invest around 80 million euros in Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia and become the company’s majority shareholder alongside Hermès International and founder Jiang Qiong Er.

Exor is also a shareholder in The Economist Group, PartnerRe, Stellantis, CNH Industrial, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale and Juventus FC.

The Louboutin deal also underscores keen investor interest in the footwear category. Earlier this month, private equity giant L Catterton and family holding Financière Agache, investment vehicles backed by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and luxury titan Bernard Arnault and his family respectively, acquired a majority stake in Birkenstock, with plans to expand in Asia, open more stores and ramp up e-commerce.

That deal followed a bumper initial public offering in February for Dr. Martens and amid a sale process for Reebok, currently owned by Adidas.

One of the world’s most famous and admired footwear designers, Louboutin founded his brand in Paris in 1991 and has steadily built a global following, expanding into men’s shoes, handbags, and small leather goods. In 2014, he launched Christian Louboutin Beauté. Today the brand counts around 150 boutiques in 30 countries.

As part of the transaction, Exor is to nominate two of the seven members of the company’s board of directors.

Exor noted that “Christian Louboutin has a highly regarded and experienced management team that has successfully implemented a disciplined strategy focused on excellence and growth.”

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

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