Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion House Changes Hands

The proudly French fashion house of Jean Paul Gaultier is now in the hands of Spain’s Grupo Puig. The Barcelona-based firm, which controls such labels as Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne, paid €16 million (appoximately $24 million, at current exchange) for the 45% stake in Gaultier held by Hermès. The designer stepped down from his post as artistic director of womenswear at the luxury goods giant last May.

A press release issued yesterday by Hermès noted that the sale was “made in full agreement with [Gaultier],” in acknowledgement of his “desire to accelerate the deployment of his house and give it a fresh impetus.” Puig will top up its stake by acquiring an additional 10% of the Gaultier business from the designer, who has long been the majority shareholder. Puig reported 2010 revenues of €1.20 billion ($1.78 billion), most of which are derived from its prestige fragrance business, but the company is focused on building both its fashion segment (which grew by 25% last year) and its global reach. About a quarter of Puig’s 2010 revenue was from Spain, compared to nearly 40% in 2005.