French luxury group Hermes is looking to sever longstanding ties with star designer Jean-Paul Gaultier by selling its 45 percent stake in his fashion brand.
Hermes said it has been approached by potential buyers and is studying all options.
Analysts point out Gaultier himself quit as Hermes’s creative director last year, which gives some logic to the decision.
Hermes could also use the money raised to help it fend off any takeover attempt by rival LVMH.
Gaultier is looking for investors to expand in regions such as Asia, the French newspaper Les Echos reported on Friday. But a source close to Gaultier said it was Hermes which was keen to sell its stake.
Gaultier still controls his company and remains one of the longest enduring French designers alongside Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel.
The Gaultier fashion brand, founded in 1976, makes the bulk of its revenues from licence deals, particularly perfume.
Its sales climbed back last year to about 26 million euros, up from 23 million euros in 2009 but the company is still slightly loss making. Gaultier has some 30 boutiques worldwide.