Italy's Clessidra in exclusive talks to invest in Harmont & Blaine

MILAN, March 17 Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:02am EDT

MILAN, March 17 (Reuters) - Italian private equity fund Clessidra is in exclusive talks to buy a stake in Harmont & Blaine, the clothing company said on Monday, a move it hopes will help it expand abroad.

Clessidra would take a minority stake in the maker of casual clothing branded with a basset hound via a reserved capital increase, Harmont & Blaine said.

"We have found a fund we think can help support our growth plan," Chief Executive Domenico Menniti said in a statement.

The brand said the entry of a new partner would help it increase revenue in the next three years and raise the proportion of sales it makes internationally.

Menniti said in December the company expected revenue to rise to 90 million euros ($125 million) in 2014 from 61 million in 2012, before the impact of any outside investment, and planned to list shares publicly in the next four years.

Clessidra's interest in the luxury and retail sector prompted it to buy Italian jeweller Buccellati in 2013. Later in the year, the firm also bid for a stake in fashion house Versace, which was eventually sold to U.S. firm Blackstone .

UBS is advising Harmont & Blaine.

($1 = 0.7181 Euros) (Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Mark Potter)