New shareholder or buyer for Parisian label Carven urgently sought

Translated by
Nicola Mira
today Jun 14, 2018
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Who will save Carven? At the end of May, the fashion label founded in Paris in 1945 filed for bankruptcy protection, and the court has now ruled for Carven to be placed in receivership. At the same time, a search for investors interested in relaunching the brand has begun, or even for a buyer which could guarantee Carven’s future.

Carven - Autumn/Winter 2018 - Womenswear – Paris - © PixelFormula

Indeed, if an acquisition bid was made that offered better safeguards for the womenswear label’s 103 employees, the court could opt for a straight sale rather than a solution for keeping Carven in business. The situation is tense: the most recent annual revenue figure available for Carven is €21 million as of March 31 2017, with an operating loss of €5.5 million.

Carven has struggled ever since Guillaume Henry, the designer who rekindled its popularity, left in 2014, and is now trying to find a new lease of life under Swiss creative director Serge Ruffieux, hired last year. Carven’s distribution model relies chiefly on the wholesale channel (accounting for 85% of sales), though the label also operates six stores in France and one in London.

Carven’s newly appointed bankruptcy receiver has now begun the search for investors which could back a recovery plan. Some have reportedly expressed a degree of interest, but it is still too early to talk of any offer. Bids for a partial or whole acquisition will be filed by July 9, and the court is expected to rule on the case by the end of July or at the latest during August.

Since 2016, Carven’s majority shareholder is the Hong Kong investment fund Bluebell, which could therefore be set to exit. The label is managed by president Sophie Rougemont, appointed by Bluebell when it bought a majority stake, and Henri Sebaoun, the former majority shareholder, currently the general manager.

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