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Versace, the Italian fashion house founded by Gianni Versace 40 years ago, is expected to be sold to the US handbag and clothing brand Michael Kors for $2bn (£1.5bn).

The sale of the Milan-based brand would turn the late designer’s niece, Allegra Versace Beck, into a near-billionaire as she inherited half of the company after his murder outside his Miami mansion in 1997.

The Versace family still own 80% of the fashion house following the sale of a 20% stake to the US private equity group Blackstone for €210m in 2014. Of the remaining stake, Allegra owns 50%, her mother and Gianni’s sister, Donatella Versace, owns 20% and Gianni’s older brother, Santo, owns 30%.

The family would retain a minority stake and some creative control in the company, according to Reuters, which said three sources confirmed the deal with Kors. Blackstone would sell its entire stake.

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Vijay Nanda

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