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Reliance Brands to acquire 40% stake in Manish Malhotra brand company



Reliance Brands to acquire 40% stake in Manish Malhotra brand company

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd has agreed to buy a 40% stake in a company owned by fashion designer Manish Malhotra, as part of a strategy to accelerate the 16-year-old couture-house’s growth plans in India and abroad.

Reliance Brands, the brand licensing arm of Reliance Industries, has invested in MM Styles Private ltd, that owns the designer’s eponymous brand, endorsements, licensing and intellectual property (IP) rights. This is the first external investment for the brand, which had so far been privately held by the designer since it was founded in 2005. The company did not disclose the deal size.

“Recognition and appreciation for Indian couture is at an inflexion point globally and we are excited to partner in this journey with Manish” said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, holding company of all retail companies in

. “Our strategic partnership with Manish Malhotra is anchored on our immense respect for his

craft and our deep commitment to Indian art and culture. Being an entrepreneur, Manish the man behind the brand, has always been nimble and ahead of his times.”

Malhotra, who has been a costume stylist for nearly three decades, has a team of 700 artisans and professionals that creates the popular namesake brand in fashion and movie entertainment. The brand’s luxury-retail footprint includes four flagship stores in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Hyderabad, two shop-in-shop, a virtual store and over 12 million social followers across various channels. Reliance will take the brand global, the company said.

“The collaboration with Reliance Brands Ltd. was a natural decision for me, as it represents both Reliance’s astute vision and the family’s deep affinity for crafts and culture. As the brand aims for international expansion, business diversification, and renewed creative growth, there could have been no better strategic partner to accompany us on this journey,” said Malhotra who will continue to lead the brand as its managing and creative director.

As India’s largest luxury retailer, Reliance Brands has a portfolio of nearly five dozen international brands that span across the luxury, bridge-to-luxury, high-premium and high-street lifestyle segments. These brands include Burberry, Coach, Diesel, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Versace that together have over 1350 doors either as standalone outlets or SIS.

Two years ago, RBL also made its international entry by acquiring the British toy retailer, Hamleys while last year it acquired a 46.6% stake in Genesis Luxury Fashion, which operates brands such as Armani, Canali and Michael Kors.

“Companies have increasingly realised that they have to create an Indian brand especially in the ethnic wear space compared to western fashion which they have been selling all these years. Reliance can even tweak their pricing and create a larger market because the brand is already strong and can be extended across price-points and markets easily,” said Harminder Sahni, founder of retail consultancy Wazir Advisors.

Indian wear, initially restricted to older age groups, now finds acceptance among younger consumers as well, with labels such as Manyavar and Fabindia driving the market, especially at the mass-premium end, while designer labels cater to the high-end, bespoke segment.

Over the past two years, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd has acquired two designer owned companies – a 51% stake in Sabyasachi Couture, the company founded by fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Finesse International Design, which sells bespoke apparel retail brand Shantanu & Nikhil.

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