Who owns Gucci?

Gucci is owned by the french holding Kering, which completed its buyout of Gucci in an $8.8 billion deal in 2004. Artémis is the investment company of the Pinault family. Founded in 1992 by François Pinault, Artémis is the leading shareholder in Kering, which owns Gucci. The Kering Group generated over €20 billion in revenue in 2022, and Gucci was the leading brand, with revenue of €10.5 billion.

Kering is a luxury goods multinational founded in France by François Pinault in 1963. The company, which initially specialized in timber trading, grew via acquisitions and was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1988. Two years later, Kering merged with a French conglomerate interested in furniture, department stores, and bookstores.

Gucci origin story

Gucci is a luxury fashion house based in Florence, Italy, which sells products such as footwear, perfumes, makeup, ready-to-wear, and home décor. 

Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, with their son Aldo Gucci responsible for making the family-owned company a brand recognized worldwide.

The first American store was opened in New York City in 1953, with showrooms then opened in London, Paris, and Florida over the next decade.

As of December 2021, Gucci operated 501 stores worldwide with estimated global revenue totaling €9.73 billion.

The company also celebrated 100 years in business in 2021 with new collections based on its most celebrated designs.

The Luxury Wars!

On March 1995, as Maurizio Gucci crossed the road to reach his office in the center of Milan, a man with a tight grip on his gunshot him dead!

That was the epitome of the Gucci wars.

A decade of family feuds had turned Gucci from one of the most iconic brands in the world to one of the most talked about, not for its fashion products, but for its family fights.

Eventually, the story got even crazier as investigators discovered that his former wife, Patrizia Reggiani, had commissioned the homicide.

Yet, in parallel to it, as the Gucci family lost control of its empire in the mid-90s, another business war was going on!

In the late 1990s, the luxury industry consolidated in a set of wars that would eventually converge into a luxury empire that, in 2022, churned the wealthiest man on earth: LVMH, led by Bernard Arnault.

It all started with the attempt to take over Gucci by Prada’s CEO Patrizio Bertelli, which, in 1998-9, had acquired a good chunk of Gucci, apparently as an attempt to seal a strategic partnership with the company.

In previous years, Gucci had gone through internal battles to control the company.

First, the litigious Gucci family had faced many legal battles for the company’s takeover.

Eventually, this led to the ousting of most of the company and the successful attempt of Maurizio Gucci (the son of Rodolfo, one of the second generations of the Gucci family).

Indeed, for some context, Gucci was founded in the 1920s by Guccio Gucci, which successfully transformed the company into one of the more renowned Italian fashion boutiques.

Yet, Guccio’s sons, Aldo, Rodolfo, and Vasco, primarily transformed the business.

Aldo led the international expansion of Gucci, which transformed it into one of the most renowned fashion houses of the 1970s.

In contrast, Rodolfo and Vasco led the creative and industrial side back in Italy.

The second generation of Gucci was highly successful in building Gucci into one of the most successful fashion brands in the world.

Gucci was the first Italian company to successfully expand in the US, to become a brand comparable to other French fashion brands, and it managed to IPO back in 1995.

Yet, Gucci also set the stage for a family feud, made of legal battles, that would make it into the most talked about until the 1990s.

Finally, after internal wars that lasted for years, Maurizio Gucci, son of Rodolfo, managed to take over control of the company, thanks to the partnership with Investcorp. This investment fund had put its eyes on Gucci.

As Maurizio Gucci took control of Gucci, he tried to rebuild the brand by re-organizing it around the core product lines.

Yet, after 2-3 years of unsuccessful attempts, Investcorp played its cards and ousted Maurizio Gucci.

As the last Gucci was ousted from the company’s management and ownership, the company was led by Domenico De Sole, an Italian-born, US-adopted lawyer, who had grown into Gucci, from Maurizio Gucci’s father’s loyal lawyer to the company’s CEO.

At the same time, Gucci reorganized its management.

Tom Ford, a young designer, finally became the head of the company’s creative side (Tom Ford would sell his own brand to Estée Lauder, in 2022, for $2.8 billion!).

The duo De Sole-Ford (they are still partners today, and De Sole also helped sell Ford’s company to Estée Lauder in 2022) would go on to create one of the most successful business turnarounds of the last decades.

Gucci went from losing a ton of money in the mid-90s to a highly profitable company at the turn of the century.

By the late 1990s, thus, Gucci had become an interesting target for other brands, primarily Prada, who started the bidding wars.

Indeed, as Bertelli, Prada’s CEO (the guy that had married Miuccia Prada and had turned a creative company into a fashion empire), had bought a substantial chunk of shares from Gucci, he tried to build a strategic partnership with the company.

Yet, now run by Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford, Gucci didn’t want to deal with Bertelli or lead a merger between the two companies.

This opened the way for another company that would try all it could to conquer Gucci: LVMH.

At the time, LVHM had already become a luxury empire thanks to the incredible business acumen of Bernard Arnault.

Arnault started his career by channeling the resources from the family real estate business toward iconic French brands.

By the late 1990s, LVMH had become the first multi-brand fashion house.

In 1998-9, the luxury industry lived a strange moment. As we saw back then, Patrizio Bertelli (Prada’s CEO) seemed to have foreseen the future.

After he had acquired a good chunk of Gucci shares, which resembled an unusual move, he tried a takeover, which would be almost impossible for the time.

Indeed, while Gucci was a rival of Prada, Prada was smaller than Gucci.

While Bertelli’s reasoning might have also been driven by the fear of Gucci entering into agreements with some of Prada’s artisans in the Scandicci region in Italy, Bertelli backed down when Bernard Arnault came in.

As we saw, the paradox is that Prada was smaller than Gucci at the time and didn’t have the financial resources to take over the company.

So eventually, Prada sold its stake to LVMH for an incredible financial gain.

While Arnauld initially claimed his takeover of Google was a friendly one, it came out almost immediately that he was only trying to get more and more control of the company to finally make Gucci one of the brands under the control of LVMH.

Indeed, Arnauld’s tactics were well-known at that point.

He managed to gain control of many valuable fashion brands and reunite the brand’s LV and MH under the same umbrella by playing the owners of those two brands against each other while he took control of their group!

Yet, under Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford, Gucci didn’t like the idea of being taken over by LVMH to become one of the brands under Arnauld’s control!

Thus, the war ensued.

In an incredible deal of the last moment, Gucci found a white knight, into another French billionaire, François-Henri Pinault.

Pinault understood the time window to consolidate in the fashion industry was right.

He convinced De Sole and Tom Ford to close a deal with him by making Gucci the central business unit in charge of developing a multi-brand strategy for PPR (which would eventually become Kering)!

LVMH, which had amassed a substantial stake in Gucci, was diluted as Gucci issued stocks in favor of Pinault, thus making Arnauld slowly back up from the deal.

That was the beginning of the fight between two groups that would eventually dominate the whole luxury fashion industry: LVMH (controlling brands like Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Loewe, Loro Piana, Bulgari, and Tiffany & Co) and Kering (controlling brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen)!

Gucci ownership structure

When Guccio Gucci passed away in 1953, three of his five sons received shares in the company – Aldo, Rodolfo, and Vasco.

When Vasco passed away in 1974 and Rodolfo in 1983, Gucci was owned by surviving brother Aldo and Rodolfo’s son Maurizio. 

In the 1980s, Maurizio and Aldo Gucci became involved in protracted battles over who would assume majority ownership of the company.

Maurizio ultimately took control of Gucci after Rodolfo was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion.

In 1988 with the company in financial difficulty, he sold approximately 48% of Gucci to Bahrain-based investment firm and Tiffany owner Investcorp.

The rest of Gucci was sold to Investcorp in a 1993 deal with around $200 million.

Under new leadership in the late 1990s, Gucci’s reversal in fortunes saw Prada take a 9.5% stake.

Bernard Arnault, chief of luxury conglomerate LVMH, also accumulated a sizeable holding of 34% and then acquired Prada’s stake before an unsuccessful takeover bid.

To escape LVMH’s control, Gucci reached out to French financier François Pinault and his multinational corporation Pinault Printemps Redoute – now known as Kering.

The corporation purchased a 44% stake in Gucci in 1999, diluting LVMH’s controlling interest in the process.

The deal resulted in a long and expensive court battle between Kering and LVMH as both companies tried to wrestle control of Gucci.

Kering would prove to be the victors of this battle and completed their buyout of Gucci in an $8.8 billion deal in 2004.

Key takeaways:

  • Gucci is a luxury fashion house based in Florence, Italy, which sells products such as footwear, perfumes, makeup, ready-to-wear, and home décor. Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, with their son Aldo Gucci responsible for making the family-owned company a brand recognized worldwide.
  • Gucci was family-owned until 1988, when financial difficulties caused the company to be sold to Bahrain-based investment firm Investcorp. Gucci was then progressively sold off to LVMH, who initiated an unsuccessful takeover bid.
  • French multinational Pinault Printemps Redoute took a controlling stake in Gucci to arrest control from LVMH, which resulted in a long court battle that it would ultimately win. The multinational, now known as Kering, completed its purchase of Gucci in 2004.

Related Visual Stories

Kering Revenue

In 2022, Kering generated €20.35 billion in revenue, of which €10.49 billion from Gucci (50.6%), €3.3 billion from Yves Saint Laurent (15.9%), €1.74 billion from Bottega Veneta (8.39%), and €3.87 billion from the other houses.

Kering Financials

Kering generated €20.35 billion in revenue in 2022 and €3.6 billion in profits, €17.64 in revenue in 2021, and €3.17 billion in profits.

Gucci Revenue

Gucci generated €10.49 billion in revenue in 2022, compared to €9.73 billion in 2021 and €7.44 billion in 2020.

Yves Saint Laurent Revenue

Yves Saint Laurent generated €3.3 billion in revenue in 2022, compared to €2 billion in 2021 and €1.74 billion in 2020.

Bottega Veneta Revenue

Bottega Veneta generated €1.74 billion in revenue in 2022, compared to €1.5 billion in 2021 and €1.21 billion in 2020.

Bernard Arnault’s Net Worth

Bernard Arnault’s wealth is around $203 billion. Indeed Arnault is the CEO and chairman of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a massive luxury group that generated over €79 billion in revenue ($83 billion) in 2022, spanning across wines, fashion, cosmetics, and retail. The Arnault family group owns 48.18% of the capital for LVMH with 63.9% voting power, making Bernard Arnault the principal owner and decision-maker. His stake is worth over $203 billion.

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Ultra Fast Fashion

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Real-Time Retail

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SHEIN Business Model

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