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    The Call @ Hedgeye Plus

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Think back to August 2007 for a minute. Jones Apparel Group auctions off Barney’s and a bidding war ensues between Japan’s Fast Retailing and Istithmar -- a government-backed Dubai firm. We all know who won. Why is it no surprise that the company backed by oil money beat the one who is trying to acquire luxury assets to escape exposure to a local economy that has average 1.35% over 10 years?

Well, Dubai is at it again. The Dubai International Financial Center (owned by the Dubai government), has taken a majority stake in Villa Moda, which operates seven multi-brand ‘emporiums’ in the Gulf region and roughly 50 designer shops for brand such as Gucci, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana. These are super high-end shops with price tags that border on ridiculous to 99% of America (most of Wall Street included).

Rational for the government cash infusion? Fueling a new global growth push. Probably not a bad idea given that few others could afford such a move. For Villa Moda’s sake, let’s just hope there are enough people left who want to pay $300 for a pair of cashmere socks.

By the way, check out the site. Some interesting brand call outs. They sell Seven (VFC) but not Ralph Lauren, Adidas but not Nike. Several other interesting notes…