Moncler SpA agreed to buy Stone Island, a rival maker of men’s luxury sportswear, for €1.15 billion ($1.4 billion) in cash and shares.

The two Italian brands will remain separate autonomous entities. The deal marks Moncler’s first acquisition as well as a significant shift in ambitions for the company after nearly two decades of rapid expansion with a single-brand strategy. The deal comes as Moncler has been cited as a possible acquisition target.

Stone Island a company focused on fiber and textile research, experiments extensively with dyes and treatments. The brand’s edgy sports jackets can cost upward of $1,000.

Stone Island is owned and managed by Carlo Rivetti, the scion of an Italian textile group who backed the venture founded by designer Massimo Osti in 1982. The brand grew sales 1 percent to €240 million in its 2020 financial year ending October 2020 compared to the year prior. Distribution remains heavily concentrated to both wholesale and its home market of Italy.

The deal is expected to close by the first half of 2021.

Remo Ruffini, chairman and CEO of Moncler S.p.A., commented in a statement: “I have always worked to build a strong brand where uniqueness and closeness to the consumer have been the cornerstones of development always beyond trends and conventions. Sharing the same vision leads us today to joining forces with Stone Island to write our future together. Led by an entrepreneur of high renown, Stone Island is a great success story, a company that has built an exceptionally strong relationship with its community, offering a highly distinctive product, as a result of unique technical skills and absolute clarity in its positioning. It is a story of Italian excellence. Moncler, together with Stone Island, will offer to new generations a new concept of luxury, far from the traditional stereotypes in which young people no longer recognize themselves. We believe in an open and engaged universe, which thrives on community, experiences and cultural exchanges, where communication is always interaction and where the aspirational goes beyond possession to become “being part of” and “belonging.”

Ruffini added, “We’re coming together at a challenging moment both for Italy and the world when everything seems uncertain and unpredictable. But I believe it is precisely in these moments that we need new energy and new inspiration to build our tomorrow. This is a union of two Italian brands with the same values, the same management rigor, the same passion for innovation, the same love for their people and the same desire for the future. It’s the celebration of the resilience of a country that no crisis can stop.”

Carlo Rivetti, chairman and CEO of Stone Island, stated, “Remo and I have decided to combine forces and visions to meet together and with greater strength than ever the challenges we all face. We share the same roots, similar entrepreneurial journeys and the utmost respect for the profound values of our brands and our people. And we are Italians. And so, begins a new chapter for Stone Island, the start of a journey that will help our brand to reach its full potential while maintaining its strong brand identity and continuing to nurture its culture of research and experimentation. Our headquarter in Ravarino will remain the beating heart of the brand and a center of excellence that will be further enhanced and my team and I will continue, in our current roles, to do what we have been doing with a great passion for many years. This is a partnership that represents a great opportunity for the continued development of both companies and which will help Stone Island accelerate its international growth thanks to Moncler’s experience in both the physical and digital retail world. This is also an opportunity to share and grow for all the people of Moncler and Stone Island with whose contribution we will continue to write, together, a story of ingenuity, creativity and professionalism to honor Italy in the wider world.”

Photo courtesy Stone Island