Enormously Wealthy Ajman Sheikh Closing In on Lacroix Deal

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Lacroix's fall 2009 couture collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Italy's Borletti Group has decided not to make a bid for Christian Lacroix, the fashion house that went bankrupt and nearly crumbled right before the fall 2009 couture shows. With the Italians out of the way, an Ajman sheikh is now closing in on a deal to acquire the label. And things look pretty serious: Hassan bin Ali al-Nuaimi has made what officials call an "overall very satisfactory" offer and is close to finalizing the deal. Maurizio Borletti confessed that after mulling over his offer for three months, "the conditions for confirming this takeover were not brought together." Lacroix has never made a profit in its 22-year history, so perhaps he couldn't see a way to once and for all make money on those flouncy embroidered dresses?

Al-Nuaimi, nephew of a ruler of Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, is prepared to inject 70 million euros (his happy-birthday check?) into the house, allowing it to retain its staff. Borletti hopes to facilitate a quick end to the deal between the label and the rich ruler's nephew. Perhaps this fellow has some connection to that couture client who offered to write Lacroix a check to stave off bankruptcy, which Lacroix declined. Except now administrators are involved to tell him to take the money already. Al-Nuaimi still has to beat out bids by France's Bernard Krief Consulting and the Financiere Saint-Germain holding company, but Lacroix's talks with those companies don't sound nearly as serious.

UPDATE 2-Borletti drops Lacroix bid, Gulf investor in play [Reuters]