Fashion house Versace sells stake to Blackstone to fund growth

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A sign is seen for a high-end retail store along 5th Avenue in New YorkBy Isla Binnie MILAN (Reuters) – Italian fashion house Versace is selling a 20 percent stake to U.S. private equity firm Blackstone for 210 million euros ($287 million), aiming to fund new shops and build on a recent recovery in sales before an eventual stock market listing. The family-controlled brand, which chose pop singer Lady Gaga to promote it last year, struggled for years following the murder of founder Gianni Versace in 1997. With a minority stake it might not be possible to make these changes,” he added, referring to the potential influence of Blackstone. Versace, which had been gearing up for a listing before Gianni died, first flagged last April that it was considering opening up to outside investors.

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