The Agnelli family purchases a 24% stake in Christian Louboutin

The billionaire Italian family Agnelli continued to expand in the luxury sector with the acquisition of a stake in French luxury shoe maker Christian Louboutin.

Exor, the holding company of the industrial dynasty, announced Monday that it would invest 541 million euros in the French brand, whose signature design is an imposing stylus with red lacquered soles, to acquire a 24% stake.

The agreement values ​​the 30-year-old Parisian brand, named after its creator and eponymous co-founder, to a total of 2.3 billion euros. Exor will also appoint two of the seven members of the board.

This investment follows the acquisition by Exor last December of a majority stake in the Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia, co-owned by the French Hermès. It signals the continued push of the Agnelli family into the luxury sector, which it has signaled for expansion alongside technology, and where the Arnault, Pinault and Rupert families dominate brand ownership through their holdings. LVMH, Kering and Richemont.

Louboutin, whose shoes are regularly worn by royalty and Hollywood stars, has declined many offers to buy from the company over the years, most notably from LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group in numbers. business. When asked in a 2018 Financial Times interview if Christian Louboutin would remain independent, he said: “You can never say forever, but it’s been 27 years and for me it’s an important thing to be free.”

In a statement issued on Monday, Louboutin said that Exor’s “constant long-term orientation and strong entrepreneurial culture” make it the ideal partner to “write a new page in the history of our House”.

“The partner with whom we partner should respect our values, be open-minded and have a young and ambitious dynamism,” he added. Louboutin will retain the majority stake in the company with its partner, Bruno Chambelland.

The deal comes after sales in the broader luxury sector contracted last year, as restrictions on international travel and widespread lockdowns to combat the march of the coronavirus pandemic dragged down spending into high-end products.

Sales have been set at contract 22 percent in 2020 to reach 217 billion euros worldwide, which represents a return to 2014 levels, and they will take up to three years to recover, according to a November study by consultancy firm Bain and Altagamma, the Italian luxury association.

Christian Louboutin said the brand has performed well during the pandemic thanks to its existing e-commerce platform, which it plans to develop further. Exor previously indicated the technology and luxury sectors as its new areas of focus.

John Elkann, descendant of the Agnelli family and Managing Director of Exor, said: “The extraordinary creativity, energy and unique vision of Christian Louboutin are precisely the qualities needed to build a great company.

Elkann and Louboutin have known each other for many years and both insist that their partnership is based on “mutual trust”. Exor will be a long-term investor who will help support the company’s future growth, the company said.

Christian Louboutin’s participation marks Exor’s third investment alongside French partners after the successful Fiat Chrysler and PSA merger was finalized last month to create Stellantis, the world’s sixth-largest automaker.

Exor’s firepower to make new acquisitions was bolstered by the billion euros in dividends it collected as a result of the transaction.

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