Four years after it bought Italian label Valentino, Qatar’s sovereign investment fund Mayhoola For Investments has expanded its foothold in the world of high-end fashion by buying Balmain. The value of Tuesday's deal was not disclosed, but the amount could reportedly be as much as 500 million euros ($560 million).
Rumors of an impending sale of Balmain were doing the rounds for months, and since April, Mayhoola was being spoken of as the frontrunner to buy the French family-owned luxury goods brand. The final deal is expected to be formally announced Wednesday, even though the actual deal value will likely not be disclosed.
A report in French financial daily, Les Echos, however, said the Qataris offered 485 million euros for the 71-year-old fashion house. According to the Financial Times, which cited an unnamed source not directly involved with the deal, Mayhoola plans to combine Balmain and Valentino under one umbrella company, which it will then list publicly.
Bucephale Finance, the Paris mergers and acquisitions firm that advised Balmain’s shareholders, said in a statement Tuesday: “After completing this transaction, Mayhoola for Investments will hold 100 percent of Balmain's capital.” The sale “will allow the (Balmain) brand to speed up its development, especially with the opening of new boutiques abroad,” it added.
Currently, Balmain has only eight boutiques around the world, including one in New York that opened in April. After coming close to bankruptcy in 2004, the label saw a resurgence and reportedly had about 130 million euros in sales in 2015.
True to its name, Mayhoola — which means “unknown” in the Qatari dialect of Arabic — is a mostly mysterious fund, generally believed to be owned by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Missned, mother of the current Qatari ruler, Sheikh Tamim. Its website, mayhoola.com, gives no information except the company’s address in Doha and that it is focused on both local and global investments. The fund also reportedly bought a stake in English handbag maker Anya Hindmarch for 27 million pounds ($40 million).