Growing an Empire: Michael Kors buys Versace

Versace is looking to expand and grow with Michael Kors to gain greater profit.

photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

Versace is looking to expand and grow with Michael Kors to gain greater profit.

Heather Suraci, Features editor

Following a multitude of rumors, it’s official: Michael Kors Holdings Limited has bought Versace for over $2.12 billion. The Italian luxury goods house was founded by the late Gianni Versace in 1978 and has been creatively helmed by Donatella Versace, his sister, since Versace was murdered in July of 1997. After numerous years of success in the fashion world, the house of Versace is looking to try something new to expand its brand. Michael Kors Holdings will be renamed Capri Holdings Limited with the acquisition.

Michael Kors, whose namesake label is best known for its leather handbags, has made no secret of its ambition to grow its portfolio of high-end brands after buying British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion last year. On the other hand, Versace, known for its bold and over the top glamorous designs and its Medusa head logo, was one of a clutch of family-owned Italian brands cited as attractive targets at a time when the luxury industry was riding high on strong demand from China. Nonetheless, since the two brands are now under the same proprietorship, together they are sure to make an impact.

Despite numerous rumors that the Versace family will no longer be involved in the brand, the Versace family will maintain a strong a role in the company with Donatella Versace maintaining her designer position. This may be due to her recent string of editorial and commercial successes since her Spring 2018 reissue collection. Over the years, Donatella has been able to carry on and expand her brother Gianni’s legacy by implementing his original ideas on design and texture to the brand’s pieces. In addition to Donatella, Versace CEO Jonathan Akeroyd will also continue to lead Versace’s management team.

With both power houses under the same roof, concern has struck that Versace will no longer exercise its “special” touch of extravagance. However, to combat these rumors, Michael Kors said it plans to grow Versace’s global sales to $2 billion, boost its retail footprint to 300 stores from around 200, and accelerate its e-commerce strategy. It also plans to raise the share of higher-margin accessories and footwear to 60 percent of sales from 35 percent.  Being that Versace has been one of the most influential fashion brands in the world, it is no wonder that Michael Kors has decided to add the Versace brand to its growing empire.