Fashion house Versace expected to sew up 1.5bn sale to new owner

Italian fashion house Versace is rumoured to be close to a sale which would value the company at more than two billion US dollars (£1.53 billion).

The company could announce a sale to a new owner "within hours", Italian media reported on Monday.

According to Corriere della Sera, artistic director and vice-president Donatella Versace has called a staff meeting on Tuesday, when an official announcement is likely to be made.

Rumoured buyers are said to include US fashion house Michael Kors and jeweller Tiffany & Co.

Michael Kors expanded beyond its eponymous brand last year with the £896 million acquisition of shoe brand Jimmy Choo.

The move has already had a positive effect on the company's earnings.

Michael Kors and Tiffany's did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A sale of Versace would mark a turning point in the brand's history. Founded in 1978, the company is still controlled by members of the Versace family.

At the time of founder Gianni Versace's death in 1997, the company had been making plans for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, but it has remained private ever since.

Rumours of an IPO have resurfaced since the company sold a 20% stake to private equity giant Blackstone in 2014.

In 2016, former Alexander McQueen boss Jonathan Akeroyd was named chief executive of Versace to oversee "the next phase of Versace's development".

A representative for Versace declined to comment.

- Press Association & Digital Desk

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