Prada has been saddled with debt for some time, and rumors are back that the house may sell a minority stake. Sources tell the Post that jewelry giant Richemont, which owns Cartier, Montblanc, and Van Cleef & Arpels, are in serious talks to buy a third of the label. Prada's lenders are said to have approached Richemont last year about a partnership, but they refused, finding the reported $3.8 billion valuation of the label too high. A deal would position Prada to make significant global expansions into key markets like China, while competing with luxury giant LVMH. Though Prada didn't provide comment to the Post on the rumors, the label "categorically denies any negotiation whatsoever to sell any share to Richemont" in WWD. Richemont didn't provide comment to the Post or WWD.
Designer Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, Prada's CEO, own 95 percent of the label, which amassed debts of $1.7 billion after acquiring and selling labels like Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, and Fendi. Though Prada denies the rumors, the Post says the label and Richemont would go together, since both Richemont's CEO and Miuccia Prada "are protective of their brands, and they detest all of the vulgar celebrity culture." Why is it that the more people say things like that the less we believe them?