Japan’s Onward snaps up fashion label Jil Sander

Japan's Onward snaps up fashion label Jil Sander
Photo: DPA
Japan's Onward Holdings Corp. has agreed to buy German luxury fashion label Jil Sander for €167 million ($243 million) in a bid to expand globally, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Onward, Japan’s largest fashion apparel company whose core business is suits, said it was buying all shares in Violine, Jil Sander’s holding firm, from a British investment fund. The deal will close next month.

“Jil Sander has great potential,” Onward spokesman Hidenobu Tanaka said. “We can expand our global business with them, especially on items such as bags, shoes and perfumes.”

German designer Jil Sander is best known for her minimalist but high-end designs for executive women. She left the company after it was bought by Italian luxury goods group Prada.

London-based investment fund Change Capital acquired the company from Prada in 2006 but apparently did not find it to be profitable, leading to the sale to Onward. Violine’s sales declined 2.9 percent to €126 million over the year to January 2008, an Onward statement said.