French fashion legend Pierre Cardin is ready to sell his group and will seek one billion euros (1.46 billion U.S. dollars).
“I want to sell it now,” Cardin, 88, told the Wall Street Journal. “I know I won’t be here in a few years and the business needs to continue.”
Cardin, who has no heirs, said he wants to stay on as creative director, explaining that it would be in the buyer’s interest “for the brand’s image.”
But Cardin is asking too much for the brand and his talent, judged hard-nosed bankers who value the business at closer to 200 million euros.
Financial data for calculating valuations is thin because the Cardin empire is not quoted on any stock exchange and so is not obliged by listing rules to provide detailed figures such as sales volumes.
At business consultancy Savigny Partners, senior manager Pierre Mallevays said: “A brand like Cardin does not increase (in value) like a normal brand because it is entirely based on licence revenues.”
Valuations are reached by applying a multiplying ratio to licence income streams, he told AFP.
“Financially, Pierre Cardin is a very big deal because all these licences generate a lot of royalties,” he said.
Cardin explained his pricing logic, on the basis of 10 million euros per product per country, “which is nothing at all”, he said. “One thousand products, 100 countries, that’s how it calculates. It’s nothing.”
The group employs 450 workers but owns only one Cardin shop in France. However, it manages some 900 licences throughout the world and indirectly employs some 200,000 people.
Cardin was also one of the pioneers of licensing, a capital-efficient method of developing a business by selling the right to sell branded products.
Cardin has since built up an eclectic range of businesses and brands, including the exclusive Maxim’s restaurants, and also high-end furniture, and perfume.
“I own 100 percent of everything that I need. I can drink my own wine, go to my own theatre, eat in my own restaurants, sleep in my hotels on my own sheets, dress in my own clothes and use my own perfume,” Cardin once said.
In 2009, Cardin sold 32 textile and accessory licences in China — but not its brand — to companies Jiangsheng Trading Company and Cardanro for 200 million euros.
Although there are no publicised buyers for the Cardin business, US group Iconix Brand may be a bidder, a source familiar with the deal said.
But top names such as LVMH and PPR are less interested because they “want to control the brands they own.
Cardin, on the other hand, gave a multitude of licences,” the source added.
“Pierre Cardin is a brand that was at times a little too exposed, too used, too franchised and in a way intangible assets were greatly squandered,” said Laurent Habib, who heads the Paris-based Observatory on Intangibles.