* PPR set to buy control of Pomellato this month -source
* Damiani family intends to keep a minority stake -source
* Prada, Renzo Rosso among unsuccessful bidders -source
(Adds second source saying Damianis have made no bid for
By Massimo Gaia and Astrid Wendlandt
MILAN/PARIS, March 11 Italy's Damiani family is
likely to keep a minority stake in jeweller Pomellato following
its sale to French group PPR, which could come as soon
as this week, a source close to the matter said.
PPR emerged as a front-runner for Milan-based Pomellato
after bids from suitors like Prada and Diesel founder
Renzo Rosso were rebuffed, the source said.
"The intention of the Damiani family is to remain as a
minority shareholder," the source, who has direct knowledge of
the talks, told Reuters on Monday.
The Damiani family, owner of the listed jewellery business
that bears its name, owns 18 percent of Pomellato,
whose colourful wares are promoted by actress Tilda Swinton.
A second source familiar with the matter said the Damianis
had not made any bid for Pomellato as previously reported, since
the family was not in a position to do so.
The family "had tried to sell its 18 percent for a year,
gave a mandate to (investment bank) Mediobanca and was
not able to do so. The only serious offer for that stake came
from Pomellato itself," the source said.
The acquisition of Pomellato would allow PPR, the French
luxury and sports brand group that owns jeweller Boucheron, to
expand in the growing jewellery segment.
The sale to PPR is expected to be closed by the end of March
and possibly this week, the source said.
A banking source told Reuters on Thursday that Pomellato
could be valued at about 350 million euros ($454 million), or
approximately 15 times the company's earnings before interest,
tax, depreciation and amortisation.
Pomellato declined to comment on talks with PPR, saying only
that the company is considering strategic options for its
future. PPR, which has been in talks with Pomellato for more
than a year, also declined to comment.
"This multiple highlights a significant premium versus the
average valuation of currently listed companies (mostly around
10 times), but not when compared to fast-growing ones such as
Ferragamo and Prada," Raymond James analysts said in a note.
"We believe a premium would be deserved as it reflects
Pomellato's potential both in sales and margin improvement,"
Founded in 1967 by Pino Rabolini, Pomellato gained
popularity with the launch of its DoDo animal-shaped pendants in
Rabolini and Chief Executive Andrea Morante, who control 79
percent of the company through the holding Ra.Mo, aim to expand
the group in the United States and Asia to reduce its exposure
to recession-hit Europe.
The deal, if completed, would mark the second time a major
Italian jeweller has fallen into the hands of a French group
after LVMH bought Bulgari two years ago for 3.7
The Italian jewellery sector is made up of thousands of
small, family-owned firms, but few are as big as Pomellato,
which generated EBITDA of 19.8 million euros on sales of 146
million euros in 2012.
Bernstein Research in a report this month said it expects
hard luxury - watches and jewellery - to be among the fastest
growing luxury categories over the next five years.
($1 = 0.7703 euros)
(Additional reporting and writing by Antonella Ciancio and
Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Luca Trogni, Mark Potter and Leslie