Luxury footwear company Bruno Magli has been acquired by UK-based investment fund Fortelus Capital. The Italian luxury footwear specialist, which has fallen on hard times, was previously owned by Opera, an equity fund backed by Bulgari SpA and a number of other investors. The amount for which Bruno Magli was sold is unknown.

Fortelus Capital is a new $300 million turnaround fund founded last year by Timothy Babich. This is its first purchase. Babich told WWD that the majority of the capital spent on the acquisition would go towards reviving the Bruno Magli business. “I think that part of (the attraction) was the history and the archives of all the designs,” he said. “We think that there is a good base to build on.”

Opera bought the Bruno Magli business from the Magli family in 2001 for $140 million. Since then, Opera has failed to lead to business to profit. WWD reports that a source has said that it struggles with a lack of creative direction and a limited budget. Since 2003, Opera called in the help of consultancy firm Alix Partners to help manage the business. According to Babich, Opera had already completed a major part of Bruno Magli’s turnaround. The brand operates 32 fully owned stores; 11 in Italy and 21 in Japan . It also has 25 stores through franchise agreements, with presences in 60 countries. In 2006, the company had €45 million in sales.

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