The takeover race for Bally is heating up with a new Chinese firm front-runner.
Shandong Ruyi Group is said to be in advanced talks with Bally International, the Swiss luxury footwear and leather goods brand.
SEE ALSO : Fosun and Septwolves eye Bally purchase
According to a Bloomberg report, the Chinese textile producer is currently negotiating with Bally’s owner, JAB Holding Co., in the price vicinity of some $700 million.
The latest development comes following the news that Fosun International and Chinese apparel maker Fujian Septwolves Industry Co. had expressed interest in purchasing Bally.
Neither party is yet to reach a final agreement on terms of a deal, and another buyer may still emerge.
Acquiring the Swiss brand in 2008 for US-based TPG, JAB Holding said in April it was reviewing sale options for Bally, as the parent company was wanting to focus on its food and beverage business.
In July, it agreed to sell London-based shoemaker Jimmy Choo to Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. for about 896 million pounds ($1.2 billion).
As it stands, JAB has grown into one of the largest operators of coffee chains. It currently owns Keurig Green Mountain Inc., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Conversely, Ruyi has been investing heavily in luxury and apparel brands in recent months. In November, the Chinese firm bought a stake in Trinity Ltd., the owner of British bespoke suit maker Gieves & Hawkes, for $284 million.
In October, Ruyi purchased the owner of Lycra and agreed to buy British trench coat maker Aquascutum in 2017.
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In 2016, it acquired France’s SMCP, whose fashion brands include Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot.
Founded in Switzerland’s Schonenwerd in 1851, Bally makes luxury leather shoes that range from loafers to fur-lined winter boots, as well as belts, bags, wallets and clothing.