Shandong Ruyi to buy Bally, will accelerate global growth

A deal has been struck to sell Bally and while we don’t know how much the deal’s worth, we do know that the Swiss brand will be controlled by one of the world’s biggest textile names, Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding. The Chinese group that also controls SMCP and Aquascutum has been in talks to buy Bally for several months.


Bally


It’s acquiring a majority stake and previous controlling shareholder JAB is set to retain a minority holding. Bally management is also investing in the new set-up alongside Shandong Ruyi. The transaction remains subject to closing conditions including customary regulatory approvals. 

JAB said the new deal comes after “strong, continuous growth for Bally driven by all regions, notably Asia.”

Does that mean the firm’s outlook will change given that a Chinese company will now be in control? It seems not. JAB said Shandong Ruyi “intends to maintain the DNA and unique identity of Bally, with its head office and main factory based in Caslano [in] Switzerland.” 

Yafu Qiu, chairman of the brand’s new parent company, said: “Bally is one of the most important luxury shoe and leather accessories brands with a heritage going back more than a century. [Its] history and its products greatly complement our existing strength in ready-to-wear apparel. This is an important milestone for Shandong Ruyi Group in our enterprise to become a global leader in the fashion apparel sector.” 

Meanwhile Bally CEO Frédéric de Narp added that the brand has “wonderful momentum and huge potential” and that the new ownership “will significantly accelerate our growth in key segments and territories as we complete the turnaround of this iconic brand.” 

It’s interesting that JAB is maintaining a stake, especially as the company has now largely exited its fashion interests with the sale of Jimmy Choo, Belstaff and Bally. 

But Peter Harf, Senior Partner of JAB, said: “We have long been investors and believers in the potential of Bally and are delighted to remain as a significant investor in the company. Frédéric and his team have done an excellent job in revitalising one of the world’s most recognised brands and turning it into a force to be reckoned with.”

So what do we know about the brand’s new owner? It’s one of the largest textile manufacturers in China, which also makes it one of the biggest globally. It owns a fully-integrated value chain with operations spanning raw materials cultivation, textiles processing, and design and sale of brands/apparel. And, of course, its SMCP and Aquascutum investments give it a strong foothold in higher-end fashion.

Headquartered in Jining, Shandong, it operates 13 domestic industrial parks and boasts some of the largest production lines and advanced technologies in China. It also has a significant distribution and point of sale network.

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