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Arab Investment Bank Buys Near 50 Percent Stake In Gucci

June 7, 1988

LONDON (AP) _ An Arab investment bank said Tuesday it has acquired a nearly 50 percent stake in Gucci of Italy, the luxury goods company, from Morgan Stanley International for an undisclosed sum.

The investment bank, Arab Banking Corp., is based in Bahrain and is known as Investcorp.

Morgan Stanley, the U.S. investment bank, had acquired the shares in Gucci, a maker of luxury handbags, shoes, clothes and fashion accessories, in a series of transactions from members of the feuding Gucci family over a period of eight months, said Andrea Morante, a Morgan Stanley official.

Florence-based Gucci was was founded by Guccio Gucci in the early 1900s as a saddlery business and has been controlled by his grandsons.

Investcorp said separately that it was buying a stake in Gucci’s U.S. affiliate but didn’t elaborate on the size of the stake involved.

A joint statement issued in London by Investcorp and Morgan Stanley said the remaining 50 percent of the Italian company is held by Maurizio Gucci, one of the founder’s grandsons. Italian authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of violating Italy’s foreign currency regulations.

Maurizio Gucci’s holding currently is being supervised by Italian court- appointed custodians.

A shareholding of less than 3 percent is held by Roberto Gucci, another of the founder’s grandsons.

Paul Dimitruk, a member of Investcorp’s management committee, said Investcorp isn’t currently pursuing the acquisition of the additional Italian Gucci shares.

″We are looking forward with confidence to a long, stable and harmonious ownership relationship with the other shareholders and the company″s current operating management,″ Dimitruk said.

Investcorp, whose shares are mainly held by investors from the Persian Gulf Arab states, is a small investment bank which specializes in taking short- and medium-term stakes in relatively small, well-known companies. Its recent investment activities include a major stake in the U.S. jeweler, Tiffany and Co.

The Italian company had 1987 sales of about 220 billion lire ($180 million), and the American arm had sales of $150 million last year.

Gucci also has separate distribution companies in London, Paris and Hong Kong.

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