Seemingly all set to be sold to ready-to-wear retailer, Beaumanoir, French clothing label Naf Naf is now in exclusive negotiations with Vivarte, which groups around 15 clothing and shoe brands.

The company was put up for sale around 18 months ago and valued at about EUR200m (US$260.39m).

"We have chosen Vivarte because we see the group as being a real catalyst in the strengthening of our development, especially on the international front. It's a tremendous opportunity for our brands," said Naf Naf's managing director Patrick Pariente, who will continue to run the company with the existing management team.

Apart from the Naf Naf line of women's fashions, the company owns the Chevignon brand which targets the mid- to high-end men's sportswear market. It employs 1,500 staff and close to 400 points of sale in 50 countries and posted a 2006 turnover of EUR 240m.

Vivarte was acquired by UK-based Charterhouse Capital Partners from investment fund PAI Partners at the end of last year for EUR 3.5bn. Its brands include André, Caroll, Kookai and Minelli.

The company said the acquisition will reinforce its position in high-street and retail park locations, while there will be growth opportunities for Vivarte in regions where Naf Naf and Chevignon are already well established.     

Financial details have not been disclosed and the deal remains subject to regulatory approval.

By Stuart Todd.