Ferretti to buy out Wally?

Written by Justin Ratcliffe

According to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Ferretti Group is in negotiations to acquire the iconic Wally brand founded by Luca Bassani. Contacted by SuperYacht Times, Wally has confirmed that discussions are underway. Ferretti Yachts 50th anniversary in VenicePhoto: Alberto Cocchi / Alberto Cocchi

At first glance, the union may seem an odd one, but Wally is renowned for its avant-garde design and technology that have revolutionised the sailing yacht world. Following on from its Wally tender and Wallyace power series, last year it announced the 83-metre Sea Explorer concept as part of a collaboration with Andrew Winch and Nobiskrug to design and build motor yachts in steel and aluminium. It also has an influential client list that includes Lindsay Owen Jones, formerly chairman of L’Oréal, and entrepreneur Andrea Recordati. The acquisition would give Ferretti a foothold in the large sailing yacht sector and access to a broader client base.Wally Nobiskrug 83m concept

“Wally is an extraordinary company that combines well with the Ferretti Group brands, but it is a very complex operation,” Ferretti CEO Alberto Galassi is quoted as saying. “An agreement could be reached by the beginning of next year if the conditions are agreed.”Alberto Galassi at the Ferretti Group Press Conference in MilanPhoto: Justin Ratcliffe

The proposed acquisition is complicated by the fact that Ferretti has been actively seeking a dedicated production site to build its maxi yachts, probably in Liguria or Tuscany, but Wally has no shipyard of its own. The new Wally 145, for example, is in build at the Persico Marine facility in Massa Carrara. An official announcement is expected shortly, probably during the Cannes Yachting Festival.Wally sailing yacht Tango in MonacoPhoto: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht Times

Wally has had a chequered history of investors and talks that the brand might be for sale has been circulating for some time. With a production value amounting to €623 million in 2017 and backed by its Chinese stakeholders Weichai (Piero Ferrari has a 13.2% share in the group), Ferretti is one of very few brands in Italy with the financial muscle to consider the supposed €25-30 million asking price.

“We are completely in tune with Luca Bassani and if we’re able to finalise the agreement we intend to collaborate with him,” concludes Galassi.

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