The French giant Kering – house of Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci – is targeting Tom Ford and is in advanced negotiations for the purchase of the popular brand, on which Estée Lauder has also focused.
The indiscretion of the Wall Street Journal ignites the risk in luxury, where the French giant plays the lion’s share thanks to a base of affluent consumers who, in the face of galloping inflation, continue to spend on expensive bags and clothes, confirming themselves resilient to the dear-life. Kering – according to rumors – is in a favored position for the acquisition over Estée Lauder, whose quarterly results disappointed with the lockdowns from Covid in China and the slowdown in orders in the United States.
The beauty giant’s interest in Tom Ford had already emerged in recent months, when some rumors had indicated negotiations at a purchase price of 3 billion dollars. An interest linked above all to Tom Ford’s line of luxury cosmetics, who managed to conquer a large audience in the sector beyond the success for his men’s suits. With the addition of Tom Ford, Estée Lauder could expand its portfolio which already includes brands such as MAC, Clinique, La Mer and Aveda. Among the hypotheses that the beauty giant was considering was the maintenance of the beauty division and the licensing of clothing.
If bought by Kering, Tom Ford would find himself next to the brand that launched him and consecrated him to the world news, that is Gucci as he called him in the 1990s as creative director before Ford himself launched his fashion house. The rise of Texas-born Ford is partly told in the 2021 film ‘House of Gucci’ starring Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani.
A deal with Kering would probably make more strategic sense for Ford than marrying Estée Lauder, given the French group’s experience in luxury and haute couture. Kering also continues to grow and achieve sales above expectations, fueled by the expenses of American tourists in the European capital taking advantage of the strong dollar. Tom Ford has been considering a possible sale for several months. According to rumors, she is joined by Goldman Sachs in examining alternatives, including the possibility of the new owner to work with the iconic founder of the brand.