Kering is in advanced talks to buy Tom Ford, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday afternoon, citing people familiar with the matter.
The luxury giant, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, was competing with cosmetics juggernaut Estée Lauder for Tom Ford, a privately held menswear and beauty business, and has emerged as the frontrunner, sources told the Journal.
Tom Ford has been exploring the possibility of a sale since this summer, according to market reports. In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Estée Lauder was in talks to buy the brand in a deal valued at $3 billion.
For Ford, a sale to Kering would amount to something of a full circle. In the 1990s, the then-unknown Texan designer was employed by Kering precursor Gucci Group, where he performed wonders for the group’s flagship mega-brand. Kering declined to comment.
In its most recent quarter, Kering posted year-over-year sales growth of 14 percent, in part driven by booming consumer demand for Saint Laurent. Still, Kering’s post-pandemic performance has lagged behind rivals in the luxury sector. LVMH, for instance, saw sales rise 22 percent in its fashion and leather goods division in its most recent quarter.
Kering has been eyeing M&A opportunities for years, including Versace in 2018. It has also explored deals with Moncler and Prada, reportedly.