Founded in 1972, the luxury brand’s customers include legendary Italian motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. Over the past 40 years, Dainese has diversified from its distinctive competitive motorcycle racing wear into providing protective gear for road and racing use, plus ranges for winter sports, biking and horse riding. It also manufactures motorcycle helmets under the AGV brand name.
Investcorp said on Wednesday that it had acquired the business from its founder, Lino Dainese, who would maintain a minority stake. Investcorp will own 80 per cent of the business, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Mr Dainese is credited with inventing products such as back protectors, knee sliders and the Dainese air bag (D-Air), an intelligent protection system which recognises a dangerous fall and deploys special airbags around motorcyclists’ bodies.
“Dainese is an iconic brand with a record of leadership in a multibillion dollar market,” said Hazem Ben-Gacem, head of Investcorp’s European corporate investment team.
“It is exactly the type of company we look to invest in: a founder-managed, successful business looking for a partner for the next phase of growth. We look forward to working in partnership with the current management team, and Mr Dainese, to consolidate Dainese’s deserved reputation as an innovator and to strive to increase its penetration into new markets.”
Italy’s Mediobanca advised Investcorp and was the exclusive bookrunner on the financing package. Investcorp invests predominantly on behalf of private Middle Eastern investors, and had $11.4bn of assets under management at June 30.
It first became known for investing in luxury labels, such as Gucci and Tiffany, turning them into multi-billion-dollar global brands.
It bought Danish luxury retailer Georg Jensen in 2012, but lost out to Blackstone, the US buyout fund, when bidding for a 20 per cent stake in Italian fashion group Versace earlier this year.
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