MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's state-backed fund Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI), one of the bidders for a minority stake in Versace, is willing to put in an offer valuing the whole fashion house at 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion), people familiar with the issue said.
Versace is selling a stake of around 20 percent ahead of a possible market listing in three to five years. Proceeds from the sale will be used to invest in new shops to take advantage of growing investor appetite for luxury goods.
People involved in the deal have said FSI is very keen to secure the Versace deal. Its current valuation comes at the high end of what analysts say the fashion house may be worth.
Another source close to the matter said the company was looking at a valuation of at least 1 billion euros from the stake.
Other potential buyers for the minority stake include private equity firms Permira, Ardian, CCMP Capital, Blackstone
Santo Versace, one of the owners, last week expressed hopes a new investor could emerge by Christmas.
But several sources familiar with the issue said, however, the bidding process for Versace was still very open and that the whole process would likely drag on into January and February.
"This is not something that is going to happen over the next few days," said one of the sources.
The sources said the Quataris, which had been mentioned in the Italian media as possible bidders for Versace in partnership with the FSI, are not involved in the deal.
Another source said Permira is also growing less interested in the Versace stake.
FSI and Permira declined to comment. Ardian, CCMP and Investcorp could not be reached for comment.
($1 = 0.7377 euros)
(Reporting by Lisa Jucca, additional reporting by Isla Binnie and Stephen Jewkes; editing by David Evans)