Eighty-eight-year-old Pierre Cardin has officially put his label on the market. "I know I won't be here in a few years and the business needs to continue," he told The Wall Street Journal. He's asking €1 billion, or $1.46 billion, for the company, which is a stretch according to industry experts, especially since no one knows how much it makes. Even Cardin himself is unclear about his annual sales, which are managed by over 400 licensing partners worldwide. "I don't know how much it makes," he said. "It's incalculable." He's never had anyone help him with his finances, either. "I don't have a board, I am my own board," he said proudly.
So how did he decide on the asking price for his company? The Journal reports:
Asked how he came up with the billion-euro valuation, he takes out an old greeting card and, scribbling, says, "If I ask €10 million per product, which is nothing at all, per country, multiplied by 1,000, that makes one, two, three...." Dismissing the profusion of zeroes, he concludes, "One thousand products, 100 countries, that's how it calculates. It's nothing."
Some bankers that the Journal interviewed estimated that the company might be worth around €200 million, but that even that's a rough guess. Pierre Mallevays, a fomer LVMH executive who now owns a small investment advisory firm, is doubtful about the sale: "From a due diligence perspective it's an absolute nightmare, and goes contrary to the fact that he wants a lot of money for it." Another red flag, one might add, was the label's baffling spring 2011 show.