Elbaz leaves fashion label Lanvin, Wang rejected offers

Wed Oct 28, 2015 5:22pm EDT
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Alber Elbaz is leaving Lanvin after 14 years at the creative helm of France's oldest fashion brand.

Lanvin gave no explanation but industry and financial sources said tensions had been growing between shareholders because the company's sales and profits had been in constant decline over the past three years.

Partly stoking the tensions was the fact that Lanvin's controlling shareholder, Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang, had rejected several offers for the company a few months ago, the sources said.

Wang rejected an informal offer worth more than 400 million euros from Valentino's Qatari owners Mayhoola and another indicative bid of less than 400 million euros from Gucci owner Kering, sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.

"It is a shame Ms Wang rejected that offer, as Lanvin without Alber now, is certainly not going to be worth that much today," one of the sources said on Wednesday.

Lanvin's minority shareholders include German investor Ralph Bartel, who owns 25 percent, and Elbaz who has a stake of nearly 18 percent. Elbaz is widely credited with having infused new life in Lanvin and has been the brand's main driving force.

"It is clear that Elbaz and Bartel were not happy to see the sales and the value of their investments go down... But I think Ms Wang simply did not want to sell," another source said.

It is not clear what Elbaz will do with his stake since he bought part of it thanks to a loan from Wang, the sources said.   Continued...

A model presents a creation by Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz for Lanvin. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier