Kering said to be considering Puma sale
Middle Eastern purchase?
Following recent reports that the Abu Dhabi government are interested in buying Reebok, rival sportswear brand Puma has also found itself in the middle of a buy-out rumour – this time, with the potential new owners said to be Qatar and its sovereign fund.
It is said that Kering have contacted potential buyers to explore the possible Puma sell off and that sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and Asian investors were approached. At this time there has been no official statement from either parties, but the timing does seem a little off – as earlier today Puma announced a big money deal with Rihanna, who will now be the brand's official creative director and spokesperson.
Kering also found itself in the news this week for the sudden shock departure of its luxury company Gucci's CEO and creative director, Patrizio di Marco and Frida Giannini. After the duo, who are a couple in real life and have one child together, announced their resignation on Friday, Kering's stocks suffered a blow – first falling 2 percent, then 4.3 percent, with shares dropping to $193.18.
The Kering group own a 86 percent stake of Puma, and acquired the sports brand in 2007. The brand is said to be worth $3.1 billion according to a market valuation and is currently undergoing a huge revamp – stepping up its design and marketing efforts, such as the new collaboration with Rihanna announced earlier today.
Analysts have weighed into the buy-out rumours, with Bassel Choughari, an analyst at Berenberg in London noting that "it's a bit surprising" that Kering would be looking to sell the sports giant after Kering chairman Francois-Henri Pinault said earlier this year that he was convinced that the conglomerate should have a sports and lifestyle division. "That said, if they were to dispose of Puma it's clearly going to be taken very positively by the market," he added.
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli added that he was skeptical that a luxury conglomerate like Kering can own a sportswear brand – since the margins are much lower than that of its other entities including Gucci, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.