French fashion designer Pierre Cardin is seeking to sell a large part of his empire, including his couture and licensing divisions, for around $1 billion.

He said in an interview in L'Express that he intends to focus instead on the arts.

82-year-old Cardin expects some $500 million for the couture and licensing contracts, and said that the sale will be divided into the three different continents of Asia, Europe and America and would involve several buyers.

He is also hoping to get another $500m for the Maxim's restaurant concerns - but will keep the perfumes, property and boutiques business.

Cardin added that he has no shortage of suitors, but that he wants the company to go to textile industry professionals and not financiers. A timeframe for the sale has not been fixed.