Founded in 1921, Gucci has a long history of take-over attempts and family feuds and has even neared bankruptcy.
While it has always been one of the world’s most prominent luxury fashion houses, Gucci is no stranger to controversy.
After all, Gucci is a big company, and issues always arise when there’s big money involved and a lot at stake. So who owns Gucci today?
Here Is A Brief History Of Gucci’s Ownership:
Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci. It became a family business passed on to his sons, and then to his grandson, Maurizio. After Maurizio’s death, Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford became CEOs of Gucci, and Kering later bought it.
Who Owns Gucci Today?
Since it was established, Gucci has had several leadership changes. It started as a family-owned company founded by Guccio Gucci, which he passed to one of his sons, Rodolfo.
At the hands of Rodolfo’s son Maurizio, Gucci lost its brand image and exclusivity when it became associated with cheap-looking products at duty-free shops. This led to a restructuring to revive the brand, which did not happen right away as it eventually nearly went bankrupt.
Maurizio then sold his shares to Investcorp – a banking and asset management company based in Bahrain.
When Maurizio died, Gucci was listed publicly. This was until Domenico De Sole, the CEO of Gucci America Inc., took over the brand with Tom Ford, an American designer – the same Tom Ford who opened his own fashion house in 2005.
Today, Gucci is owned by Kering – a French multinational corporation specializing in luxury goods. Kering was formerly called PPR, short for Pinault-Printemps-Redoute.
Kering acquired Gucci in 1999, but it was in 2001 that the said corporation got full control over Gucci. It was a long and tedious fight in Dutch courts versus LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton – the corporation that owns Louis Vuitton, which we know is another famous luxury brand.
Even when Kering acquired Gucci, De Sole and Ford stayed as CEOs of Gucci until 2004. The brand went through a few more leadership changes in the following years.
Gucci’s current CEO is Marco Bizzarri, who took over in 2015 and was the previous CEO of Bottega Veneta and the previous head of Kering’s leather goods and luxury couture division.
Was Gucci Ever A Part Of LVMH?
Gucci also has a history with LVMH – the multinational corporation that owns Louis Vuitton and other luxury fashion brands.
Gucci was never a part of LVMH, but the latter attempted to take over the brand.
When Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford took over as Gucci’s CEOs, they restructured to revive the brand’s image. This strategy eventually became successful as it piqued the interest of other big names in fashion. Prada even bought 9.5% of the shares.
Between 1998 and 1999, Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, also began to buy shares of Gucci and amassed more than 30% of the total shares. LVMH also acquired the total shares of Prada, which was 9.5%.
This began a feud between the Gucci CEOs and LVMH’s Bernard Arnault after the latter attempted to take over the brand, which was then foiled. This was considered the most eventful and dramatic luxury fashion feud of the 20th century.
Was Gucci Ever Connected To The Italian Mafia?
Behind Gucci’s success was a dark history that eventually led to the brand transitioning from a family-owned company to being owned by a multinational corporation.
This part of Gucci’s history was during Maurizio’s leadership. Mauricio was the son of Rodolfo and the grandson and heir of Guccio Gucci.
When Maurizio was the CEO of Gucci, he lived a lavish lifestyle. He owned a three-masted yacht and 2 Ferrari cars.
He also had houses in both Milan in Italy and Saint Moritz in Switzerland. He had an estimated debt of $40 million, which was a result of his excessive spending.
It was also during this time that he began dating Paola Franchi, who was a French designer. Before this, he had a troubled marriage with his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani.
In 1995, Maurizio was assassinated. He was killed, having been shot with four bullets.
This incident made many people believe that Gucci was part of the Italian Mafia, but it never was proven.
While the Italian Mafia was notorious for similar crimes, it never dabbled in the fashion industry. It mostly controlled industries like real estate, bars and restaurants, and gambling.
It was soon discovered that Maurizio was killed by a hitman hired by his ex-wife Patrizia. While the attack was merely personal, this incident threatened to destroy the brand’s prestigious name and image, which would have been a waste of the 70 years it took to build it.
Was Gucci Ever A Part Of Balenciaga?
Balenciaga is another luxury fashion brand specializing in bags, shoes, clothes, and accessories. It is a Spanish brand that was founded in 1919 by Cristobal Balenciaga.
Gucci was never a part of Balenciaga, but Kering owns both Gucci and Balenciaga.
Kering bought Gucci in 1999 and took full control of the brand in 2001. Shortly after, it acquired more luxury fashion brands, including Balenciaga, in the same year.
What Other High-End Brands Does The Kering Brand Own?
Apart from Gucci and Balenciaga, Kering owns several other luxury brands in the fashion industry.
Kering holds most of the stakes for some brands, while the company holds just a good percentage for others.
Here is the complete list of all the brands that Kering currently owns:
- Gucci – Acquired by Kering in 1999 by purchasing a 42% stake in the brand, eventually gaining full control with a 99.4% stake in 2004.
- Yves Saint Laurent – A luxury fashion house acquired by Kering, also in 1999, by purchasing Sanofi Beaute, the company that owned the Yves Saint Laurent brand.
- Sergio Rossi – An Italian footwear brand acquired in 1999 by the Gucci Group, which was, of course, owned by Kering.
- Boucheron – A French jewelry and watch company acquired in 2000 by the Gucci Group, owned by Kering.
- Bottega Veneta – An Italian luxury fashion house acquired in 2001 by the Gucci Group also means that Kering owns it.
- Balenciaga – A Spanish luxury fashion house acquired by the Gucci Group by buying a 91% stake, which makes it owned by Kering.
- Alexander McQueen – A British luxury fashion house where the Gucci Group holds a 51% stake as a part of a joint venture with the brand’s founder and designer.
- Brioni – An Italian luxury menswear brand acquired by Kering in November 2011.
- Girard-Perregaux – A Swiss luxury watch brand acquired by Kering in 2011 in partnership with the Sowind Group.
- Jeanrichard – Another Swiss luxury watch brand acquired by Kering in 2011.
- Qeelin – A Chinese fine jewelry company acquired by Kering in 2012.
- Christopher Kane – A British fashion label acquired in 2013 by Kering, which bought a 51% stake.
- Pomellato – An Italian jewelry company founded in 1967 and acquired by Kering in 2013.
- Altuzarra– An American luxury fashion brand for women, wherein Kering holds a percentage of the stakes.
- Ulysse Nardin – A 171-year-old Swiss luxury watch brand acquired by Kering in 2014.
- Lingberg – A Danish eyewear brand acquired by Kering in 2021 by purchasing 100% of the stakes.
Apart from these brands mentioned, Kering also owns Vestiaire Collective and Cocoon. These are not luxury fashion brands but companies that operate in the luxury fashion sector.
Vestiaire Collective is an online marketplace for secondhand luxury designer goods. It allows people to buy and sell their preloved luxury items.
Meanwhile, Cocoon is a startup based in the UK that facilitates rentals of luxury bags.
The House Of Gucci: The Complete History And Timeline
Kering: A Timeline Behind The Building Of A Luxury Goods Conglomerate