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FB Roundup: Missoni, Heineken, and Marriott

Missoni eyes international expansion, Heineken invests in the Great British Pub, and Alexa checks into Marriott

Missoni eyes international expansion

The Missoni family have sold a 41.2% stake in their eponymous fashion house to Italian private equity firm FSI, a move the family say will make them more competitive internationally.

The stake was valued at €70 million ($93 million), and the companies said in a statement it would involve a capital increase and no leverage against Italy’s Missoni. The family retains majority control.

The board of directors will include second-generation chair Angela Missoni, plus other Missoni family members Luca, Giacomo, and Rosita, the latter as honorary chair. Michele Norsa, FSI partner and former Salvatore Ferragamo chief executive will be vice-chair.

Missoni turns over $173 million annually and was founded in 1953 by Rosita and Ottavio Missoni. It exports about 75% of its production.

Angela Missoni, also creative director, said her family was pleased to be working with a “prestigious and patient Italian investor with an international network”. FSI’s investors include the European Investment Fund.

“I am proud that Missoni will be entering into this new chapter, safeguarding both our family unity and our brand DNA,” she said.

Heineken invests in the Great British Pub

Heineken will make a record investment into its UK pub portfolio this year, spending £44 million ($55 million) on its leased pub arm Star Pubs & Bars.

Around a quarter of Star’s 2,900 pubs will benefit from the investment programme, with an average spend of $224,000 per site.

The investment comes against a backdrop of hard times for UK’s drinking holes, as more beer is bought in shops, adults drink less often, and tastes veer towards gin and craft brews. According to the British Beer & Pub Association, 17% of UK pubs (about 10,500 total) have shut since 2000.

The new investment was expected to create 1,000 jobs.

Heineken, controlled by the eponymous family, turned over $23 billion in 2017 and owns just under 10% of the UK’s pubs.

Alexa checks into Marriott

Marriott is to become the first major hotel group to install artificial intelligence bot Alexa in its guest rooms, marking the launch of Amazon’s new service ‘Alexa for Hospitality’.

Marriott International—listed but 25% owned by the founding family—will this summer install Alexa in selected rooms at its Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels.

The non-exclusive deal would allow guests to ask Alexa for information like pool hours or fitness centre location, request hotel services like room service or housekeeping, or call the concierge.

Jennifer Hsieh, vice president customer experience innovation at Marriott, said the company would be taking on guest feedback about how to expand the functionality of the Alexa.

Marriott International started as a single Washington DC lemonade stand in 1927 by newlyweds Willard and Alice Marriott. The couple expanded into catering and their son Bill opened the first hotel in 1957. Bill—also known as JW Marriott Jnr (pictured)—is still executive chairman. Marriott International turned over $23 billion in 2017.

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