Qataris eye £550m Pepe Jeans deal
Qataris eye £550m Pepe Jeans deal. Pepe Jeans

The Qatari royal family is reportedly leading the race to acquire denim brand Pepe Jeans, as buyout funds struggle to meet the £550m (€700m) price tag.

Mayhoola for Investments SPC, an investment vehicle with close ties to Sheikha Mozah, the second wife of the former emir, is the financial vehicle that the Qataris are using to place offers, Reuters reported.

The retailer, which is also selling its menswear brand Hackett, expects binding offers in around three weeks.

In October, Pepe's advisor Morgan Stanley received indicative offers from several prospective buyers including London-based Permira and Cinven, Paris-based PAI, and New York-based KKR. The highest bid came in at €730m ($910m, £579m).

Pepe is majority held by private equity firms Torreal, Arta Capital and L Capital. The management team holds a 30% stake. The retailer hired Morgan Stanley in July.

Pepe, which is a sponsor of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team, has run high-profile advertising campaigns starring actress Sienna Miller, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and model Kate Moss.

Mayhoola has been building up a portfolio of high-end brands in Europe. In February, it bought the majority of Forall Confezioni, which is behind the Italian luxury menswear brand Pal Zileri and holds licenses for Moschino and Cerruti 1881.

In 2012, Mayhoola acquired the iconic Italian fashion house Valentino from Permira for about €700m.

Pepe was launched in London by three brothers as a weekend roadside stall on Portobello Road in 1973.