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Italian designer Roberto Cavalli is in advanced talks to sell a majority stake in his fashion house to London-based buyout firm Permira in a sale worth about €450 million ($621 million) according to a report from Reuters.
A sale would mark the end of more than 40 years on the haute couture scene for Cavalli, known as "The Leopard King" for his animal prints colorfully cast in leather, silk and velvet.
And it would demonstrate once again the appeal of Italian family-owned fashion firms for investors after rival label Versace sold a 20% stake to U.S. private equity firm Blackstone for €210 million in February. Cavalli would retain between 20 - 40% of the company.
The buyout firm has a strong appetite for fashion brands, having backed Italian haute couture brand Valentino in the past. It still has a controlling stake in German fashion house Hugo Boss and earlier this year secured control of British footwear brand Dr. Martens for £300 million ($500 million).
Bankers familiar with the situation have valued Cavalli at around 450 million euros, based on a multiple of 15 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €25 million for 2013.
That would exceed Versace's valuation, which came in at 14.5 times EBITDA, but fall short of the 31.5 multiple that Qatar's royal family paid to buy Valentino from Permira in 2012.