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Agnelli Family Takes 24% Stake in Christian Louboutin

The Agnelli family has turned its eye toward high-end fashion again, this time taking a 24 percent stake in iconic French footwear, handbag and small leather goods brand Christian Louboutin.

Exor, an Agnelli family-controlled holding company, is set to invest 541 million euros ($642.2 million) in Louboutin to help the French brand “accelerate the next phase of the company’s development.” Exor will also get to nominate two of the seven members of Louboutin’s board of directors. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

This latest move follows a December investment of 80 million euros ($95 million) in Chinese luxury fashion brand Shang Xia, with Exor now an investor alongside luxury goods firm Hermès.

“Exor’s commitment to building great companies makes it an excellent partner for Christian Louboutin at a moment when this established brand is poised to capture significant new opportunities,” the two firms said in a joint statement on Monday. They added that the French brand has excellent growth prospects within footwear and is “well positioned to become one of the world’s preeminent luxury players,” adding that there is also the ability to develop its geographic expansion into China, as well as extending existing digital and e-commerce platforms.

“I have admired over the years Christian’s talent in creating one of the world’s great, independent global luxury brands,” John Elkann, Exor’s chairman and CEO, said. “We share the same family spirit, culture and values, which are the basis of a strong partnership. Christian Louboutin’s extraordinary creativity, energy and unique vision are precisely the qualities needed to build a great company.”

Exor has a number of investments that include luxury car brand Ferrari, insurance firm PartnerRe, Italian football club Juventus FC, and The Economist Group and Shang Xia.

Christian Louboutin founded his footwear firm in 1991. The brand became world famous for its signature red soles, initially in women’s shoes and later when the business diversified and expanded into men’s footwear. The company now has a retail presence of 150 directly operated retail stores in 30 countries, as well as wholesale accounts and an online footprint.

Last month in the world of luxury footwear, Birkenstock GmbH sold a majority interest to L Catterton and affiliates that include Financière Agache, a company a controlled by the investment arm of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault. That deal is said to be valued at 4 billion euros ($4.85 billion).