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Roberto Cavalli to Shutter US Stores, Liquidate North America Operations

Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli SpA is in deep discussions with creditors in Milan as it shuts U.S. operations and is expected to face a union strike at company headquarters in Sesto Fiorentino, Italy on Monday.

The company last week applied to the Court of Milan for approval of a restructuring plan. And on Friday evening the fashion house shut down its U.S. subsidiary, with plans to file a Chapter 7 liquidation case with a bankruptcy court this week to end operations. The subsidiary in the U.S. operated under the corporate name ArtFashion Corp. Nearly 100 employees, seven full-price stores and a small number of outlets are impacted by the shutdown.

Cavalli’s board has been trying to find a new owner, but with limited success. Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR acquired a 90 percent ownership stake in the fashion house in 2015. The designer Roberto Cavalli retains the remaining 10 percent stake, although he gave up his design role around 2014.

The company has seen much turnover since Clessidra acquired the firm. Francesco Trapani took on the role of chairman of Cavalli, while Renato Semerari became chief executive officer. Trapani then moved over to Clessidra, where he became chairman following the death of the private equity firm’s founder. The financial sponsor was sold to Italmobiliare SpA in 2016, and Trapani left a few months after the sale to join the board of Tiffany & Co. Last week Cavalli also saw the departure of creative director Paul Surridge, successor to Peter Dundas, who left in 2016. And Semerari, who also exited the company in 2016, was succeeded by Gian Giacomo Ferraris.

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