Permira Dismisses Hugo Boss Takeover Speculation

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Private equity company Permira, owner of Hugo Boss, on Thursday dismissed market talk about a possible ownership change at the German fashion house.

Boss shares had risen as much as 6.5 percent as traders cited talk that the Marzotto family, co-owners with Permira of a company that holds 55 percent of Hugo Boss’s voting shares, may be planning a bid for remaining Boss ordinary shares at 27.75 euros each.

After the market close, the Marzotto family also denied the rumours of any offer for Hugo Boss shares.

“The Marzotto family vigorously denies the market rumours reported by Reuters regarding an offer for Hugo Boss AG common shares as they are absolutely groundless,” Gaetano Marzotto told Reuters.

Earlier a Permira spokesman dismissed the talk and referred to comments from Permira’s head of Germany, Joerg Rockenhaeuser, who said Hugo Boss was not up for sale, “not today, not tomorrow and not the day after tomorrow”.

Permira bought Valentino Fashion Group and Hugo Boss in 2007 from the Marzotto family, which still holds 22 percent in the holding company Red & Black.

Speculation emerged after the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper highlighted in an article on Thursday the appointment of four new supervisory board members at Hugo Boss — among them Luca and Gaetano Marzotto.

The brothers moved on to the board in February along with Klaus Meier, a former Mercedes manager, and Permira’s Damon Buffini, replacing Permira managers as well as Olaf Koch, chief financial officer at German retailer Metro (MEOG.DE).

The move came after Permira and the Marzotto family in December paid over 250 million euros ($341 million) to reduce the debt level of Valentino Fashion Group — which Hugo Boss was still part of at the time.

(Reporting by Anika Lehmann, Alexander Huebner and Eva Kuehnen in Frankfurt, with Antonella Ciancio in Milan, Simon Falush and Joanne Frearson in London and Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by David Cowell and David Holmes) ($1=.7331 Euro)