Permira snatches up Italian luxury sneaker brand Golden Goose

LONDON (Reuters) - Dr Martens owner Permira has clinched a deal to buy Italian luxury sneaker brand Golden Goose, trumping rival bids from U.S. investors and betting on the luxury goods industry despite China’s economic slowdown.

London-based Permira, which has a prolific track record of luxury investments including fashion brands Valentino and Hugo Boss BOSSn.DE, said on Wednesday it would take control of the Venice-based shoemaker from its previous owner Carlyle CG.O.

The deal values Golden Goose at 1.28 billion euros, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

That represents a multiple of about 15 times the company’s core earnings of 85 million euros in 2019, one of the sources said.

Carlyle, which has backed the company for the past three years, hired Bank of America last autumn to run an auction process which drew interest from investment fund Advent and U.S. SPAC Acamar ACAMU.O.

The three bidders submitted final offers on Monday with Carlyle aiming for a price tag of no less than 1.2 billion euros, the sources said.

Golden Goose’s sneakers have a five-point star on the side and are priced at about 400 euros ($437) a pair.

The brand, whose celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, is addressing a more affluent audience than British footwear brand Dr. Martens which was bought by Permira in 2013 and is now on its exit pipeline, the sources said.

Golden Goose, which was founded in 2000 by designers Francesca Rinaldo and Alessandro Gallo, has a long history of private equity ownership.

In 2013, it was sold to Italian private equity fund DGPA which flipped it to mid-market investment firm Ergon Capital two years later.

Carlyle CG.O made its swoop on Golden Goose in 2017 driving its expansion in the United States and Asia with flagship stores in New York, Tokyo and Beijing.

Led by Chief Executive Silvio Campara, Golden Goose has diversified its product range to include clothing and accessories, with a focus on leather goods.

Group revenue rose to nearly 200 million euros in 2018 from less than 50 million euros in 2014, with the vast majority generated outside of Italy.

Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia, editing by William Maclean, Kirsten Donovan