Among Italy’s luxury brands still owned by Italian hands, Giorgio Armani fashion maison is for certain the most attractive prey for investors from abroad. Both LVMH and Kering (former Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), just to name names, would probably be happy to pay almost any price for it. But the celebrated Italian fashion designer, now turned 78, has always been unconditional: Armani is not for sale. “I’m thinking of my succession every morning and every night. But one thing has to be clear, as long as I am here I am the boss”, he told the Wall Street Journal Magazine in a cover-story interview. He always denied any rumor of possible sale and experts believe things won’t change for the time being. May be in the next few years, as the industry giants of France will continue keep their eyes on the Italian prey. The strength of king Giorgio empire lies in its numbers: in 2013 he passed for the first time ever the 2 billion euros sales, a threshold beyond which only Gucci, Prada and Luxottica (which by the way is a strategic partner of Armani in the spectacles segment) have ventured so far among world class Italian names. Sales at Armani are growing along all the group clothing lines, from AJ Armani Jeans up to the Privé haute couture Collection.
Armani anyway is not alone. By his side there are the two nieces Silvana and Roberta Armani: the former is creative director for the woman line while the latter is responsible for events and relationships with celebrities. Also Andrea Camerana, son of his sister Rosanna, is helping in the business. Armani stays in any case one among the very few fashion designer around the globe, maybe the sole one, who owns 100% of his brand, while also controlling most of the satellite activities and companies and personally owning really huge real estate properties.
In the last few years, after the hospitalization in 2009 for a liver disease which raised concern among his closest aides, rumors about a possible sale of the group to foreign investors, first of all LVMH but also L’Oréal was mentioned, became recurrent. Any time Giorgio denied both the sale and the possible listing in the stock exchange, while he is said being mulling the creation of a foundation aimed at protecting the interest, as it was for famous brands such as Hermès or Rolex. «I always believed that a strong cash flow went together well with independence and soundness – he told Italy’s leading financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore – being cash rich gives you the benefit of enabling to cope with difficulties or to take important opportunities with no need to ask anything to anybody, with just no conditionings».