China’s Fosun Fashion Group has beefed up its luxury holdings with its second Italian acquisition, snapping up storied footwear specialist Sergio Rossi — and plotting an expansion drive in Asia.
Divulging the transaction exclusively to WWD, Fosun said it acquired 100% of Sergio Rossi SpA from Absolute Luxury Holding Srl, an independently managed subsidiary of European investment house Investindustrial, adding to a portfolio that includes French house Lanvin, Austrian hosiery specialist Wolford, Italian men’s wear company Caruso and American fashion brand St. John.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The development suggests that Fosun Fashion Group is still on the lookout for acquisitions — and carefully constructing its luxury portfolio. It also underscores heightened investor interest in the footwear category, with Christian Louboutin, Birkenstock and Dr. Martens all involved in recent deals or initial public offerings, and Adidas in the process of seeking a buyer for Reebok.
“This acquisition not only completes a more well-rounded strategic brand ecosystem for FFG, but also creates potential synergies between brands through Sergio Rossi’s fully owned and state-of-the-art factory,” Fosun said in a statement, trumpeting itself as “one of the first movers to create a global luxury fashion group in China.”
It is understood FFG beat out a long list of suitors with its commitment to develop the brand for the long term, and its formidable muscle in China. In recent years, Sergio Rossi chief executive officer Riccardo Sciutto has succeeded in reorganizing the company, modernizing its manufacturing plant in Italy’s San Mauro Pascoli, a key footwear district, and giving a precise identity to the product in sync with the late namesake founder of the brand.
In an interview on Wednesday, FFG chairman Joann Cheng said she spies many potential synergies.
“We can foresee the product development and production of shoe products for Lanvin and St. John by utilizing Sergio Rossi’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and the team of over 150 experienced artisans working on prototyping and shoemaking,” she said. “We can also foresee interesting collaborations between the brands, whether it’s Sergio Rossi x Lanvin, St. John or Wolford, as these four brands are all known for their dedication to the femininity, elegance and confidence of contemporary women, with a strong focus on craftsmanship.”
Cheng noted that Sergio Rossi is the first vertically integrated luxury accessories brand in FFG’s portfolio, and echoes its penchant for companies with strong savoir-faire and integrated factories, as is the case for Wolford, Caruso and St. John.