Paris—Although Cie Financiere Richemont, the luxurygoods company, declined to confirm rumors, reports circulated today that its venerable French handbag company Lancel is being put up for sale.
Richemont, which also owns Cartier, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Montblanc, reported hired Nomura Holdings Inc., the investment bank, to look into selling Lancel to private equity and strategic investors, according to Bloomberg News.
Lancel, which still counts France as its biggest market, was purchased by Richemont in 1997 for about $375 million. The leathergoods brand is said to be worth about $668 million in today’s market.
Earlier this year, Richemont chairman (and controlling shareholder) Johann Rupert told analysts that the company should have sold off some of its bad investments earlier. Since then, speculation arose that the company might sell off some of its brands.
“The divestment of Lancel would be seen as a positive step as it would confirm that Richemont is willing to tackle their underperforming businesses,” Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel, wrote in a note to investors. He estimates Lancel would be worth 200 million euros.