Rome -- Italian fashion giant Gucci added another holding to its growing empire, buying a controlling stake in luxury leather accessory maker Bottega Veneta for around $160 million. The deal gives Gucci control of 40 Bottega Veneta locations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, and adds a leather goods line to existing Gucci stores. Bottega Veneta is best known for a line of stylish woven-leather handbags for women. The deal is Gucci's first in 2001, but follows eight acquisitions in the last two years, mirroring the growth-by-acquisition strategy employed by French rival Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's leading fashion company. Though Gucci said that plans for Bottega Veneta were still being drawn up, a company spokesman said that in general the company hopes to increase name recognition for the new subsidiary. Bottega Veneta had sales last year of around $48 million.
Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.