Fosun Group

Fosun buying US$40m majority stake, and will launch full takeover, of Austrian luxury textiles firm Wolford

Chinese private conglomerate’s move comes just days after acquiring troubled 129-year-old French fashion house, Lanvin

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 8:49am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 8:49am

Fosun Group, one of China’s largest private conglomerates, is buying a controlling 50.87 per cent stake in Vienna-listed luxury textiles maker Wolford for 33 million (US$40 million), which will trigger a mandatory takeover offer for the whole business, the Austrian company has confirmed.

The deal involves Fosun Industrial, the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Fosun, acquiring 2,543,694 shares from Wolford’s main shareholders at 12.80 euros per share.

Upon completion, Fosun will be Wolford’s new strategic majority shareholder and has also agreed to provide up to 22 million in fresh working capital for the firm, it said.

Fosun has picked up its overseas acquisition activities again recently. The conglomerate snapped up Brazilian asset manager Guide Investimentos for US$52 million on Tuesday, five days after it announcing the acquisition of 129-year-old French fashion house Lanvin.

The oldest French luxury business still in existence has been in turmoil since the shock sacking of popular designer Alber Elbaz two years ago. It sank into the red to the tune of 18.3 million in 2016, its first loss for a decade.

Founded by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang in 1992, Fosun pursued aggressive overseas expansion starting in 2010 and also owns Portugal’s largest insurance group, Fidelidade, French luxury resort operator Club Med, a 9.5 per cent stake in jewellery and fashion accessories brand Folli Follie, and a minority stake in entertainment company Cirque du Soleil.

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But its overseas investment slowed last year after the company found itself under the regulatory spotlight along with Dalian Wanda Group, Anbang Insurance Group and HNA Group.

Aggressive offshore mergers and acquisitions by Chinese companies have raised concern in Beijing over capital outflows and financial risks taken on by Chinese banks.