Michael Kors is close to buying Versace for $3.1 billion

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Others have expressed interest in buying Versace, including Paris-based Kering, but some are insisting the price is too high.

Michael Kors may announce a deal as early as this week that values Versace at about US$2 billion (NZ$3.1 billion), said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.is adding some Italian flair.

Givi in turn is half-owned by Allegra Versace Beck, daughter of Donatella and niece of late founder Gianni.

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Budding luxury conglomerates, including Michael Kors' U.S. rival Tapestry, owner of Coach and Kate Spade, are trying to make in-roads into an industry still dominated by European players such as Louis Vuitton owner LVMH. And it comes as the Michael Kors business still hasn't been turned around, despite some progress made.

The move is in line with the USA brand's ambition to aggregate various luxury brands - including fashion, shoes and accessories - under one larger group.

Versace, known for its flamboyant style and Medusa-head logo, hired chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd in 2016 from Alexander McQueen.

Versace is run by Donatella Versace, creative director, and her brother Santo Versace, chairman, who own 20 percent and 30 percent of the firm, respectively.

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Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported earlier that Versace could be sold this week for about US$2b, with several groups interested including Kors and Tiffany & Co.

Versace and Blackstone both declined to comment to Reuters.

Versace does not disclose its financial details, but documents deposited with the Italian chamber of commerce show that past year it posted sales of 668 million euros (US$786 million) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and appreciation (EBITDA) of 44.6 million euros.

The fashion house, founded by designer Gianni Versace in 1978, posted sales of €686 million in 2017 with net profits of €15 million. The 40-year-old fashion house returned to profit in 2017 and reported revenue of almost $800 million. In a tribute to Gianni, Donatella Versace brought back the most iconic looks from his collections spanning the 1990s, including silk blouses mixing leopard prints with images of baroque architecture.

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