Michael Kors is buying the Italian fashion house Versace in a deal worth more than $2 billion. The deal Tuesday comes just 14 months after the New York handbag maker spent $1.35 billion adding to its portfolio Jimmy Choo. Michael Kors remains the chief creative director at Kors, but the expanding company will be renamed Capri Holdings Ltd., with $8 billion in projected annual sales. Gianni Versace founded the Versace brand in 1978, becoming a major force bringing to prominence Milan ready-to-wear; with Versace’s murder 21 years ago, his sister, Donatella Versace, took over creative direction and his brother Santo continued on the business side. The Versace family still controls 80 percent of the company, with the investment firm Blackstone owning the remaining 20 percent. Donatella Versace presented her latest collection for next spring and summer last Friday during Milan Fashion Week. “This is a very exciting moment for Versace,” she said. “It has been more than 20 years since I took over the company along with my brother Santo and daughter Allegra.” Donatella, who holds a 20 percent stake in the business, will stay onboard as creative director and the family will become shareholders in the larger business. Kors said Tuesday that it plans to open 100 new Versace stores (there are 200 in operation) at the same time that it amplifies online sales of the brand.
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