French luxury group PPR is understood to be talks to buy Italian menswear brand Brioni for a reported €350m (£308m).
Family-owned Brioni launched its search for an investor three years ago, going to European banking group BNP Paribas to help sell a 25% stake in the company. PPR were originally contacted as a potential investor in 2009. Other potential investors mentioned along the way were Italian bank Mediobanca and luxury goods group LVMH.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, PPR executives are currently in Italy to carry out due diligence on Brioni.
The newspaper reported Brioni’s 2010 revenue was €190m (£167m). Earnings before interest, taxes, debt and amortisation were said to be about £42m.
One industry source said Brioni’s need for a cash injection is now a priority and the sale is highly likely, according to Reuters.
“They need capital to help relaunch the brand because they are weighed down by debt of almost €100m (£88m), they need a vision, and they need to modernize their manufacturing capabilities and structure,” the source said
A second industry source expressed caution adding that “PPR is always looking, always discussing” and that a deal was still far from done.
The price tag for brand Brioni, famous for designing James Bond’s suits, has not been confirmed.
Both PPR and Brioni declined comment.