Worrying Trend: Italian Brands Controlled by Foreign Companies

Mon, 09/05/2011 - 01:10

What could be more Italian than opening a bottle of San Pellegrino water to enjoy with Perugina chocolates, after a meal of Buitoni pasta? While the brands may have been born in Italy and become synonymous with its culture, all are now owned by French conglomerate Nestle.

Spanish companies have also snatched up recognizable Italian brands including Minerva Oil and Bertolli.

Even the Italian luxury goods industry is increasingly controlled by international companies. Pucci and Fendi are both owned by French LVMH, and Gucci has long belonged to Pinault-Printemps-Redoute. Valentino was bought by the British company Permira in 2007, and Bottega Veneta and Sergio Rossi are controlled by French luxury baron François Henri Pinault.

Pinault also has his eye on buying up more stocks in energy company Edison, Italy’s most successful company. The French investor already owns most of Edison and is interested in acquiring the rest.

While there is surely a trend of Italian brands moving under international control, there are other homegrown companies that are owned and operated in Italy to this day. Motorcycle manufacturer Ducati and pasta brand Barilla are both Italian success stories and good examples for other Italian companies.