The Qatari royal family is expected to be first in the line to by Pepe Jeans London and Hackett, as private equity funds are considered likely to struggle to meet the sellers’ price expectation of €700m (£554m).
The clothing retailer expects binding offers in around three weeks, according to Reuters. The deal would be made through Mayhoola for Investments SPC, an investment vehicle with close ties to Sheikha Mozah, the second wife of the former emir. In 2012, Mayhoola bought Italian fashion house Valentino from Permira for around €700m.
It also bought the majority of Forall Confezioni, which produces the Italian luxury menswear brand Pal Zileri and holds licenses for Moschino and Cerruti 1881.
“The Qataris are well positioned in the race for Pepe as they’re the only bidder willing to pay a big cheque,” a source close to the situation told Reuters.
In October, four funds were said to be interested in acquiring the two brands: KKR; Permira, which owns a stake in Dr Martens and Hugo Boss; CVC and PAI.
Pepe Jeans and Hackett are currently owned by Torreal Funds (31%), Artá Capital (16.4%), L Capital (11.5%) and managers.
Pepe Jeans Group has annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of €60m (£47.46m). Hackett’s turnover increased 10% to £170m and its pre-tax profits soared 74% from £3.9m to £6.8m in the year to March 31.
Mayhoola and Pepe Jeans were not available for comment.