China's Fosun says not interested in Versace
MILAN/SHANGHAI Aug 29 (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate Fosun has denied Italian press reports it was interested in buying into Italian fashion house Versace, which is mulling the sale of a stake to help fund growth.
In an unsourced report, Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore had said Versace was considering selling a significant minority stake and that Shanghai-based Fosun was interested.
"This is incorrect so please do not report falsely," a spokeswoman for Fosun said on Friday.
Earlier this year Versace Chief Executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris told Reuters the company may consider opening up to outside investors to help fund expansion in overseas markets such as Asia.
The fashion house, whose glittering gowns are worn by stars such as Lady Gaga and Madonna, hired investment banks Goldman Sachs and Intesa Sanpaolo's Banca Imi as advisers in May 2012, fuelling speculation of a sale.
But concerns over control of the company, owned by chief designer Donatella Versace, her 27-year-old daughter Allegra and Donatella's brother Santo, have delayed progress, investment sources close to the matter have told Reuters.
Il Sole said on Thursday a "teaser" - or data sheet about the company - had been sent at the end of July to some 10 investors potentially interested in the group and that a decisive meeting of Versace family members was scheduled for mid-September.
Two sources close to the situation told Reuters there had been no acceleration in the process to find a partner.
"The company has not yet decided if it is necessary to have an external investor put in capital," one of the sources said.
"We are still at a very preliminary stage, there is nothing firm on the table. In any case, it would certainly be a minority stake," the source said.
According to several sources, Qatar Holding and FSI, an Italian investment fund owned by state-controlled Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, could be interested in investing in the fashion house.
Qatar Holding signed a joint venture agreement with FSI last year to invest in Italian companies in sectors including food, fashion and luxury.
Versace was not immediately available for comment. FSI said it did not comment on market rumours. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Massimo Gaia in Milan, Adam Jourdan in Shanghai; Editing by David Holmes)