Maurizio Borletti has confirmed he is “in contact” with one of the parties currently bidding for German womenswear business Escada.
Borletti, who is chairman of Printemps Holding, which controls department stores Printemps in France and La Rinascente in Italy, denied that he himself is a bidder but told WWD that he is “in contact with one of the bidders who asked for support in preparing his bid”.
It is rumoured that Borletti is advising Sven Ley, the son of Escada founders Wolfgang and Margaretha Ley, who is thought to have prepared a bid with his wife, investment banker Zoe Appleyard-Ley.
Borletti said that he would consider making a small investment in Escada if that bid goes through, but added: “We won’t be a major, anchor investment in Escada.”
He said: “I believe Escada is a great brand. It is one of the few fashion companies to be of a real, international corporate size, and has the potential to grow back to its former glory.”
Reports suggest that a buyer will be announced in the first week of November, with bidders rumoured to be largely family groups rather than private equity and investment firms.
Last week it was rumoured that a bid had also come from US firm Vestar Capital Partners, which owns Escada’s competitor St. John Knits. It is also reported that brothers Wolfgang and Michael Herz, who previously held a stake of almost 25% in Escada, have reduced their interest to 9.3% but the duo are still thought to be in the running to buy the company.
Escada filed for insolvency in August after a bond exchange offer for €200m (£183m) for restructuring failed. KPMG declined to comment.