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Prada family denies claims it is looking to sell

The Prada family has denied claims it wishes to sell 40% of the family-owned company to an outside investor.

"We are not pressed to sell shares in an IPO, and we want to wait for the right moment," third-generation family owner Miuccia Prada said in an interview with CNN. Several private-equity companies have expressed an interest in a stake in Prada, but no negotiations are currently underway.

Miuccia Prada (pictured) is head designer of the 95% family-owned company while her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, is the CEO. Bertelli commented that while the company's key lenders remain committed to financing the group, he will not sell any of his stake in the business.

Selling speculation has been fuelled by Prada's debts, which amounted to €537 million in January 2009, after the economic crisis hit the luxury sector worldwide. The company is attempting to renegotiate its debts and extend payment terms with several banks.

Prada sold its first share to outside investors in 2006 when it sold 5% to Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo, and has three times attempted to publicly float the company. The last failed attempt, in 2008, eventually ended because the economic crisis caused stock prices to fall.

The company, based in Milan, Italy, was founded in 1913 by Miuccia Prada's grandfather Mario Prada. Prada said net investment year ending January 2009 stood at €158 million, while debts amounted to €537 million. Recent figures suggest Prada's revenue is roughly €1.6 billion.

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