Bahrain-based investment firm Investcorp has bought a majority stake in a luxury Italian menswear designer, in a deal that comes amid a boom in private equity activity in the country.
The Corneliani stake acquisition values the company at roughly $ 100 million, according to a statement from Investcorp on June 21.
The transaction will see some of the Corneliani family retain a stake in a business Carlalberto Corneliani founded with his brother in 1958.
Investcorp has made a number of investments in high-end Italian brands, including its 2014 purchase of Italian sportswear maker Dainese and its investment in the fashion house Gucci, according to the statement.
Italian private equity activity has surged in 2016, with €3.7 billion invested in the country across 18 deals, according to data published by the Centre for Management Buyout Research, sponsored by Equistone Partners and Investec. That surpasses the total value of deals done in Italy in the whole of either 2014 or 2015.
The €3.7 billion figure means that Italy is third by value of private equity investments across Europe so far this year, behind the UK and France – in 2015, the country lagged countries including Austria and Belgium.
Activity has been boosted by the fact that two of the three biggest European buyouts to take place so far this year – Hellman and Friedman’s €1.2 billion buyout of TeamSystem and CVC Capital Partners‘ €1 billion purchase of Sisal – both happened in Italy.
The hike in the amount of money invested in Italy by private equity firms is partly in response to changing investor attitudes towards the country, as demonstrated by the strong start to 2016 that fundraising in Italy has enjoyed.
So far in 2016, Italy-focused buyout funds have already raised €540 million, more than treble the paltry €150 million raised in 2015, according to data provider Preqin.