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Royalty in fashion: Valentino sold to Qatar ruling family

Royalty in fashion: Valentino sold to Qatar ruling family
Italian fashion house Valentino Fashion Group has been sold to the privately owned Mayhoola group, backed by the Qatar royal family.

­Under the deal, estimated at $855 million, the Qatar company also gets the clothing brand Missoni, which belongs to Permira, a London-based private equity fund, that sold VFG.

"Valentino has always been a brand of unique creativity and undisputed prestige," said Mayhoola in a statement. "We are impressed by the work of the two Creative Directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, and by the management team led by Stefano Sassi."

Valentino is Mayhoola's first wholly owned haute-couture brand.

Valentino Fashion Group has been previously owned by Permira. The private equity fund bought VFG (which included German menswear brand Hugo Boss at the time) in 2007 for $5.4 billion, becoming one of the largest deals in Europe that year.

However in December 2009, VFG had to restructure its debt due to the crisis, hiving off Hugo Boss as a separate company worth 5.4 billion euro.

Permira's management, who found new, younger markets in Asia and the United States, have had positive results in spite of the economic crisis, with VFG this year posting sales of 322.4 million euro, up 20 per cent from 2010.

VFG is not the first Italian fashion house to go East.

French-Italian luxury brand Cerruti was acquired by Hong Kong's Trinity Ltd. in 2010. The Gianfranco Ferre' brand was bought by Dubai's Paris Group a year later.