Fashion brand Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. is close to a deal to buy Italian fashion house Gianni Versace SpA for around $2.35 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. The move would put one of the glitziest names in high fashion in the hands of a budding U.S. conglomerate better known for affordable luxury. The deal, which is expected to be announced imminently, will give Michael Kors a mega-brand and red carpet favorite that's among the most recognizable and followed fashion labels in the world. Reuters said Michael Kors could not be reached for comment, and Versace declined to comment.
Total Retail's Take: This news isn't entirely surprising, as Michael Kors has made no secret of its ambition to grow its portfolio of high-end brands after buying British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion last year. What's more, other U.S.-based luxury conglomerates, including Tapestry, owner of Coach and Kate Spade, are trying to make inroads in an industry still dominated by European players such as Louis Vuitton owner LVMH. Companies such as Michael Kors have an ambition to aggregate various luxury brands — including fashion, shoes and accessories — under one larger group at a time when the luxury industry is riding high on strong demand from China.