Kering to focus on luxury goods

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French luxury group Kering is to focus on luxury brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent as it gives up control of the German track-and-field outfitter Puma after about a decade.

“The contemplated distribution of Puma shares to our shareholders would be a significant milestone in the history of the group,” Kering chairman Francois-Henri Pinault says. “Kering would dedicate itself entirely to the development of its luxury houses.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Kering will distribute to its investors 70% of the shares of Puma. The deal leaves Kering founder Francois Pinault’s holding company Artemis with about 29% of Puma shares, and the group will remain a long-term strategic shareholder. Kering will retain around 16% of Puma’s outstanding shares.

“The eventual sale of the remaining stake in Puma will give Kering additional resources to finance possible acquisitions or to accelerate their debt repayment,” says Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein.

Kering bought Puma in 2007 as part of a push into sport and lifestyle brands that also saw the group acquire skateboarding brand Volcom. Kering follows rivals in cleaning up its portfolio after LVMH sold Donna Karan and Hermes divested Leica.

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