Hong Kong’s Swire Shortlisted To Buy French Labels Sandro & Maje

Hong Kong Companies Have Acquired Many International Brands In Recent Years

Alexa Chung in Maje spring 2013 ad campaign

Following other high-profile fashion acquisitions by Hong Kong companies — among them Trinity’s purchase of Gieves & Hawkes and Kent & Curwen, and more recently YGM Trading’s purchase of Aquascutum — Cathay Pacific owner Swire is shortlisted to buy French fashion labels Sandro and Maje.

Put on the block by LVMH’s private equity arm, L Capital, the Financial Times notes this week that Swire is joined on the shortlist of bidders by KKR, Carlyle and Eurazeo.

A purchase by Swire could be good for both Maje — which is geared mostly towards cashed-up teens — and Sandro, which is popular among twentysomething office ladies. Notably, Maje brand ambassador, television personality Alexa Chung, has appeared in ad campaigns for the Chinese brand ME & CITY, and her namesake Mulberry bag remains popular in China. Started by sisters Judith Milgrom and Evelyne Chétrite, Sandro and Maje currently have around 500 points of sale worldwide and are looking to kick up their expansion efforts in Asia as well as the US.

Swire's Taikoo Hui luxury mall in Guangzhou

Swire’s massive footprint in the property markets in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Beijing, where it operates high-end malls such as Taikoo Hui, could help Maje and Sandro open new boutiques among neighboring brands like Hermes and, ultimately, benefit brand awareness and image in mainland China.

While Swire’s success in acquiring Sandro and Maje is far from certain, one thing that is certain is that the companies won’t come cheap. According to early rumors, bids could top €600 million (US$787 million).


Fashion, Market Analysis, Retail