Sportswear brand Lacoste have been bought out by the Maus Freres Group. The Swiss investors already held a 35% stake in the brand, and are now majority holders by buying up an additional 30.3% stake. The move values the French fashion line at somewhere between 1.0 billion and 1.25 billion euros ($1.29-$1.62 billion).
The sale comes courtesy of a group of family shareholders, including former chairman and chief executive Michael Lacoste, son of brand-founder Rene Lacoste. This has once again ignited growing speculation that a family rift over the direction of the brand is causing tension.
It is believed that Michael Lacoste is at loggerheads with his own daughter, Sophie Lacoste-Dournel, with the parent opposing his daughter’s ascension to the position of non-executive chairman in September.
Michael Lacoste claims that Maus, who have three voting members on the company board, had convinced part of the Lacoste family to form an alliance, wrestling control of the brand away from him.
Maus Freres Group owns department stores and home-improvement outlets in their native land of Switzerland and are a large distributor of clothing brands. The group claim that the purchase secures the future of the brand for the foreseeable future, ensuring employees retain their jobs during tough economic times.