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Rumors of Prada and Richemont Joining Forces Bubble Up Again

>> For the second time in six months, reports of luxury conglomerate Richemont (think Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloe) taking a stake in Prada have surfaced.  Both times, Prada has vehemently denied the possibility — first in August and again today — but if the union were to take place, as the New York Post suggested, it could create quite the competitor for Richemont rival LVMH.

Prada has long expressed interest in going public and rejected past private equity offers, but its current debt — $1.7 billion worth — has prevented company expansion.  If Richemont acquired one-third of the company as reports imply, with the possibility of an eventual majority investment, Prada would be much better equipped to take on emerging markets. But again, Prada "categorically denies any negotiation whatsoever to sell any share to Richemont."  And although a Richemont spokesman says the company doesn't comment on rumors, a source close to the company told WWD of the story: "just silly. I don't know where they got it, and clearly it's a quiet time for news."

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