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MILAN, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Italian private equity firm Armonia has bought a majority stake in high-end clothing brand Aspesi and appointed as Aspesi's chief executive, Fabio Gnocchi, the former commercial head at rival Brunello Cucinelli .
Alberto Aspesi, founder of the brand famous for its minimalist style and high-tech fabric outerwear, will retain a minority stake.
A source close to the deal said Armonia had paid more than 50 million euros ($52 million) to gain a "large majority" stake.
Armonia said it would support the company's expansion as a long-term industrial partner in its first deal under a strategy aimed at helping small and medium-sized Italian businesses expand abroad.
Mediobanca and Ethica Corporate Finance acted as Aspesi's financial advisers.
$1 = 0.9578 euros Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Francesca Landini, Greg Mahlich