Sheik offers to take over Lacroix

Emirate Sheik Hassan Ben Ali al-Naimi has made a formal offer to take over the bankrupt fashion house Christian Lacroix, in partnership with the designer. The Paris competition tribunal is likely to approve the offer by the end of October.


AFP - United Arab Emirates Sheikh Hassan Ben Ali al-Naimi made a formal offer Thursday to take over Christian Lacroix, four months after the French couture house filed for bankruptcy, the firm's administrator said.

The offer presented to a competition tribunal for approval was made "in partnership" with the designer, said a statement from the sheikh's lawyers.

The sheikh, who is close to the ruling family of the Ajman emirate, stepped in last month to take over the fashion house after Italian retailer Borletti withdrew its offer.

In his offer, Naimi pledged to maintain the fashion house's activities, save jobs and take on its debt, judicial administrator Regis Valliot told AFP.

Bernard Krief Consulting and La Financiere Saint Germain have also made offers for Lacroix, which opened in 1987 and put out its first ready-to-wear collection the following year.

But Valliot said it was "likely" that the tribunal would approve the sheikh's offer because of his commitment to save jobs, tackle the company's bills and rescue the fashion house.

Acquired from the world's leading luxury giant LVMH in 2005 by US duty free giant Falic, the firm said it had been forced to declare insolvency due to the sharp downturn of the luxury market.

The Paris competition tribunal is due to meet around October 20 and could render a decision before the end of the month, said Valliot.

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