Two of Italy's leading law firms are advising on the nearly $2.6 billion purchase of an 80 percent stake in Italian clothing and fabric company Loro Piana by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate.

Paris-based LVMH has turned to Bonelli Erede Pappalardo for counsel on the deal, which values the target company at nearly $3.5 billion. The remaining 20 percent stake in Loro Piana—which is based in a small town near Lake Como in northern Italy—will remain in the hands of its namesake founding family.
The nearly 300-lawyer Bonelli Erede has handled other major deals for LVMH, owner of well-known brands in such categories as clothing (Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Thomas Pink); perfume (Christian Dior, Givenchy); watches and other accessories (Bulgari, Fendi, TAG Heuer); and wine and spirits (Belvedere, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy, Moët & Chandon). LVMH also owns specialty retail chains like Sephora and Le Bon Marché.
Bonelli Erede, which was created in 1999 when Genoa-based Bonelli merged with Milan-based Erede and Brussels-based Pappalardo, is advising LVMH on the Loro Piana acquisition with a team of lawyers led by M&A partner and international business head Umberto Nicodano, M&A partner Stefano Micheli, and senior corporate associate Nicola Marchioro.
Nicodano and Bonelli Erede advised LVMH on its $5.2 billion purchase of jewelry and cosmetics maker Bulgari in 2011, according to our previous reports. The Milan-based firm has long-standing ties to Italy’s famous fashion industry.
Founding and name partner Sergio Erede, who began his legal career at Sullivan & Cromwell, has served on the board of directors for Milan-based Luxottica Group, one of the world’s largest makers of designer eyewear.
Bernard Kuhn is the longtime head of LVMH’s global in-house legal department, while Louise Firestone serves as the luxury goods giant’s U.S. senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel.
Hubert Védrine, who was once a partner at leading French firm Jeantet et Associes and was later affiliated with Gide Loyrette Nouel, is an independent member of the LVMH board who previously served as France’s minister of foreign affairs.
The Am Law Daily has previously reported on Jeantet’s work representing LVMH in litigation with eBay over liability for counterfeit luxury goods. ( U.S. Senate records show that LVMH paid Alexandria, Virginia–based Polaris Consulting $130,000 in 2012 for lobbying on matters related to Internet governance, intellectual property, alcohol distribution, and counterfeit goods.)
Loro Piana’s co–chief executives, Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, will continue to run the company founded in 1924 by their great-great grandfather Giacomo Loro Piana. Known for its expensive clothes made out of cashmere and other high-end textiles, Loro Piana has seen sales soar in Asia, thanks in part to China’s growing metrosexual market.
Chiomenti, which advised Bulgari two years ago in connection with its acquisition by LVMH, is taking the lead representing Loro Piana on its proposed sale to the French fashion giant. (Separately, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that Chiomenti and Bonelli Erede are facing off amid an ownership dispute over famous Milan patisserie Cova.) Mario Boschetti serves as general counsel and corporate secretary for Loro Piana, which LVMH hopes to grow into a global brand.
Groupe Arnault, a holding company for French billionaire Bernard Arnault and his family, owns nearly 50 percent of LVMH. Arnault serves as chairman and CEO of LVMH, which has been active on the acquisition front in recent years and has also made ill-fated takeover bids for luxury goods competitor Gucci and smaller French fashion rival Hermès.
The fashion and luxury goods industries have begun to bounce back from a dip in consumer spending following the global economic downturn, although retailers at the lower end of market such as Sweden’s H&M and Spain’s Zara—the latter owned by the world’s third-richest man, Amancio Ortega—have recently posted disappointing profit numbers.
The nascent rebound has given the sector a bit of a jolt on the M&A front.
The owner of specialty retailer Lord & Taylor, for instance, is reportedly mulling a bid for iconic New York–based department store chain Saks, which began soliciting buyout proposals earlier this year.
In May The Am Law Daily reported on the three Am Law 100 firms landing roles on the $1.1 billion sale of fashion retailer Rue21 to private equity firm Apax Partners. (Apax is a part owner of ALM Media, parent company and publisher of The Am Law Daily.)
Jones Day also took the lead in January advising French fashion giant PPR, which recently changed its name to Kering, on its acquisition of British designer label Christopher Kane, according to U.K. publication Legal Week.
Reuters reported this week that Italy could soon emerge as a bright spot in a moribund global M&A market— with the outlook in Europe especially bleak—due to the country’s expertise in fashion and engineering and an aging entrepreneurial base.