Versace, one of the last remaining independent fashion houses, will be bought by American fashion retailer Michael Kors for $2 billion (approx Dhs7 billion), Corriere della Serra, the Italian newspaper, has reported.
It is believed that the acquisition forms part of the company's ambition to become a multinational conglomerate, the aim being to rival European fashion giants Richemont, LVMH and Kering. Last summer Kors also purchased luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo for £900 million (approx Dhs 4,000).
Founded in New York in 1981, Michael Kors has grown rapidly as a brand in recent years. The fashion house now has 800 stores around the world and is valued at $10 billion (approx Dhs36 billion). It is perhaps best known for its accessible approach to luxury, with its popular handbags starting at £95 (approx Dhs 450), despite rising to £15,000 (approx Dhs72,000).
Versace was founded by Gianni Versace in Milan in 1978, quickly becoming one of the most well-known brands in the world. Gianni was famously shot by serial killer Andrew Cunanan outside his Miami home in 1997, and the fashion house has since been run by his sister Donatella.
Versace is currently owned by three members of the Versace family, as well as by American private equity group, Blackstone, which bought its stake four years ago. While Blackstone will no longer be involved in the business, it is believed that some, if not all, of the family members will remain involved in Versace under Michael Kors.
According to Corriere della Serra, Donatella Versace is due to hold a staff meeting about the deal today, and an official announcement will follow.