Vuitton Family to Buy Lanvin Couture House

From Associated Press

An investment group led by the Vuitton family launched a buyout of the famed Lanvin couture house today, announcing it plans to buy 95% of the company's shares.

The Orcofi investment group said it wants to buy the shares from the French subsidiary of the British bank Midland, with the goal of jointly controlling Lanvin with the L'Oreal SA cosmetics firm.

L'Oreal is the world's largest cosmetics company.

Leon Bressler, who joined Lanvin in September after working for Midland Bank SA, will be retained as Lanvin's chairman, Orcofi said in a press statement.

Bressler said last year that a takeover was expected, allowing Midland to take a profit and invest in other areas.

Lanvin posted losses of the equivalent of $17.5 million in 1988 but earned a $53-million profit under 1989 restructuring.

The house, founded in 1890 by Jeanne Lanvin, retained ready-to-wear designer Claude Montana last year to run its haute couture department but his first collection drew boos from fashion critics in January.

Orcofi holds an 85.5% stake in Vuitton Investissement Gestion, the conduit for most of the Vuitton family's holding in the luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH).

The purchase of the Lanvin stake follows investments by Orcofi in other luxury-goods companies, including the leather tannery Gordon-Choisy SA and Luxury Stores Investment, an international distribution concern.

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