LVMH rumoured to be in takeover talks with cycle brand Rapha
Luxury giant LVMH is in talks to buy premium cycle wear company Rapha as it seeks to expand beyond its core high-end fashion market into the upscale sports and leisure sectors, according to a UK newspaper report.
However, an unofficial source inside Rapha today said there is no truth in the story while an official spokesperson told Fashion Network "we have have no comment at this time."
The widely-reported story has been given credence both by Rapha's fast growth and an explosion of popularity for cycling as an activity.
Rapha has gained a lot of attention in recent periods on the back of its sponsorship of Team Sky, the ultra-successful British cycling team that includes three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome among its members.
LVMH has not commented on the report that was published by the Mail on Sunday. The newspaper also said that LVMH is talking to another Team Sky supplier, Italian bike brand Pinarello.
Rapha was founded in 2004 by Simon Mottram and saw turnover of £48.8m and pre-tax profit of £1.1m in the year to January 31. The 8,000-strong Rapha Cycling Club is one of the biggest cycling clubs globally.
The cycling sector is seeing a retail explosion globally as sport cycling gets more attention than ever at globally important events like the Tour de France, the Olympics and as consumers turn to it both as a leisure activity and a practical means of transport.
City centres are seeing a profusion of cycle stores selling both clothing and equipment as well as offering add-ons like cafes, live races and cycle experiences.
Rapha has 14 stores worldwide, known as Clubhouses, as well as Mobile Clubhouses and popups in cities across Europe, Asia and The Americas.
In a further sign of cycling’s move upmarket and into the fashion space, earlier this month Swiss rival Assos opened a west end store not far from Rapha’s Brewer Street location at the bottom end of Regent Street, London.
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