Packing their bags

With Gucci set to fall into French hands, the two men who transformed the fashion house could decide to sashay away.

They are the most dynamic duo in fashion. A charismatic Texan designer and an Italian lawyer who knows his way round US business. They revived Gucci, floated it and made it an €8.9bn (£6bn) business.

But speculation is rife that Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole are ready to quit Europe's most famous fashion house.

The two have contracts that run out next year. This coincides with the date when François Pinault, the French billion- aire, is due to make a full bid for the business under an agreement signed in 1999.

The deal was struck when Gucci was facing a hostile bid from LVMH, the luxury goods group run by M Pinault's arch rival, Bernard Arnault. Then M Pinault's Pinault Printemps Redoute bought a blocking stake in Gucci. After a long legal battle LVMH sold its holding to PPR last year, giving it a majority holding in Gucci.

Last week Serge Weinberg, chief executive of PPR, told analysts in London that he was happy for the company to go ahead with the deal for PPR to buy the 41 per cent of Gucci it does not already own for €93.70 a share. The cost, €3.9bn, has been weighing heavily on PPR's balance sheet. It also appears to be holding Gucci's price up. On Friday its shares closed at €86.80. Analysts reckon that without PPR, the shares would be half that.

More worrying is the increasing likelihood that PPR will end up running Gucci without either of its stars.

Mr Ford, who made Gucci the must-have for people who pay £300 for a pair of shoes, has made some €135m from exercising stock options in the last three years and is sitting on nearly €50m more if PPR buys Gucci out. Mr De Sole has cashed in only €14.4m of shares so far, but he holds a stake worth nearly 10 times that.

Mr Ford is said to be ready for new challenges. Mr De Sole simply doesn't get on with Serge Weinberg, something François Pinault admitted to analysts last week.

A senior PPR executive commented: "Did Dior survive the departure of Christian Dior? Yes. Did Chanel survive the departure of Coco Chanel? Yes."

Though no one at Gucci is commenting on whether the duo will go, it seems that the new owners are already preparing for the worst.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Programme Planner

£30000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

HTS GBM - KDB Developer, Kx Q Query Language, £750

£650 - £750 per day: Orgtel: Senior Analyst Developer (KDB/QKx plus Java and F...

Infrastructure Test Lead

£55000 - £60000 per annum + bonus + bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Our c...

Messaging Support Consultant

£40000 - £45000 per annum + bonus + bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Messa...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor