Loco for Luxe

NOT SINCE 1999 HAS DEALMAKING been such a hot trend. Sure, leggings and chunky shoes are In for fall, but the real must-have of the moment is a megadeal. Everywhere you look in the global luxury business, a merger or acquisition is going down. Private-equity players like Apax Partners are snapping up such brands as Tommy Hilfiger; giant manufacturers like Samsonite are investing in small leather-goods businesses such as Lambertson Truex. Department stores like Italy's La Rinascente are swallowing Printemps, its competition in France. And established names like Valentino are diving into such emerging markets as India. Last month the Gucci...

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