PARIS (Reuters) – A bond group comprising asset manager BlackRock and a subsidiary of private equity firm Carlyle has become the largest shareholder in French fashion firm SMCP, taking a 29% stake it now wants to sell.
Ownership of SMCP, whose brands include Sandro and Maje, has been the subject of speculation after a unit of its Chinese majority owner Shandong Ruyi defaulted on certain bonds, leading to the relocation of holders of obligations.
SMCP shares rose 3% after the company said on Friday that bondholders, represented by a company called GLAS, now held 29% of the capital and 22.3% of the voting rights, but had changed little. at 14:47 GMT.
“SMCP recalls that this situation does not affect its own funding and operations,” he said.
SMCP added that the GLAS bondholder group would also seek to change SMCP’s board of directors.
Shandong Ruyi held around 53% of SMCP’s capital and 67% of its voting rights through a European subsidiary TopSoho.
Following the European TopSoho’s default on 250 million euros of bonds exchangeable into SMCP shares, the Chinese stake in the French company fell to 24% but it still holds 37% of the voting rights, according to the analyst of Jefferies Kathryn Parker.
To further complicate matters, European TopSoho this month started legal proceedings against the bondholders, alleging they were trying to take control of SMCP on a low cost.
Shandong Ruyi once had the ambition to create an empire that would rival that of luxury giant LVMH.
He started buying labels in 2015, a shopping spree that would see him acquire London tailor Aquascutum, Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes and Parisian fashion house Cerruti 1881. But he struggled under the weight. debts resulting from these acquisitions.
The sprawling Chinese conglomerate’s financial difficulties worsened with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it failed to secure funding for a $ 600 million deal to buy the Swiss shoe and shoe company. Bally accessories last year.
SMCP said earlier this week that it is confident of reaching annual revenue of € 1 billion, after third-quarter revenue returned to near pre-pandemic levels after a drop 24% of sales last year.
Shandong Ruyi acquired the group from private equity firm KKR in 2016.
(Report by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Mimosa Spencer and Silvia Aloisi edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Mark Potter)
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