The transaction leading to the creation of Design Holding by Investindustrial and The Carlyle Group is expected to close before the end of 2018, starting with the brands B&B Italia, Flos and Louis Poulsen

Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman of the Investindustrial Advisory Board

Design Holding is the result of the participation of  The Carlyle Group in the design plan of Investindustrial and of the intention to create a high-end interior design group. The new group starts with the iconic (and complementary) brands owned by Investindustrial: B&B Italia, furniture, Flos and Louis Poulsen, lighting, and “it will be the largest global high-end design group with a European heritage, with combined sales exceeding €500 million.”

Investment funds controlled by Carlyle and Investindustrial will own equal stakes in the new group and will invest alongside Piero Gandini, founder and CEO of Flos as well as Chairman of the new group, and the Busnelli family, the founders of B&B Italia, who will retain minority stakes. Giorgio Busnelli, B&B Italia’s Chairman, will be Vice Chairman of Design Holding.

The group will pursue further acquisitions in the high-end interior design market, which – says the press release – despite its global appeal, remains highly fragmented.

Up, designed by Gaetano Pesce, 1969, for B&B Italia

During Investindustrial’s ownership, in the last four years, Flos has made three acquisitions including outdoor lighting specialist Ares, and B&B Italia has acquired high-end kitchen manufacturer Arclinea as well as the archives of Luigi Caccia Dominioni and his cofounded brand, Azucena.

Piero Gandini commented: “This project stems from the idea to bring Italian design, historically characterized by family entrepreneurship, to a new stage in the international arena.”

Arco, designed by Achille Castiglioni for Flos

Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman of the Investindustrial Advisory Board, highlighted: “Design is a key sector for Italy but one where most companies are still sub-scale. We are therefore delighted with our work over the past four years alongside highly experienced entrepreneurs such as Piero Gandini and Giorgio Busnelli for the growth, organic and through acquisitions, of Flos and B&B Italia. Today, thanks also to the recent acquisition of Louis Poulsen, the design group has reached a critical size that we believe represents a good starting point for the launch of a new important phase of further significant international development and growth.”


Giorgio Busnelli added: “Sharing an important entrepreneurial project and approach to growing businesses was key to the partnership signed with Investindustrial three years ago. Since then, B&B Italia has successfully achieved a growth path also through acquisitions. With today’s agreement we are entering a new phase of the development plan that we had envisaged. From today we are part of a group that, with the joint support of Investindustrial and Carlyle, wants to establish itself on a global scale, allowing us to become more relevant in high-end design at an international level.”

Pendant lamp Artichoke by Louis Poulsen

Investindustrial is a leading European group of independently managed investment, holding and advisory companies with €6.8 billion of raised fund capital.

The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with $210 billion of assets under management across 335 investment vehicles as of June 30, 2018. [LB]