La Martina (B): Selling the Passion?

Case Solution

Benoit Leleux, Dominique Turpin, Thomas Brochier
IMD ()

March 2008. Lando Simonetti, founder and CEO of La Martina, paced from one side to the other of his office in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. Not long ago, the offer that had just arrived in his inbox would be banned from the trash in seconds. He had always been passionate about keeping his company independent from investors, boards of directors, banks, and politicians. From being a local manufacturer of polo equipment, La Martina has grown into one of the world’s best-known brands in polo and fashion. He would have loved to stay true to the brand’s DNA, which is rooted in the ranch lifestyle and polo game and supplies functional polo equipment. But that no longer seemed possible since the fashion industry discovered the brand and made it a fashion icon. This time the offer was different. It came from Tribeca Partners, a renowned South American private equity firm in Bogotá ° that had developed a serious specialty in fashion. It had recently closed its first deal in Argentina, assuming control of one of La Martina’s local competitors, Black Label, to globalize it. The company clearly knew about fashion and Argentina was on its radar screen. The offering was rock solid, evaluating the company at nearly three times sales and ten times EBIT. Was it time to let it go? Learning Objectives: Discuss exit planning, fundraising, private equity, growth management, and the fashion industry.

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