Category winner: Prada’s Hong Kong IPO

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This case won the Finance, Accounting and Control category at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2018.
The case

Who – the protagonists

Maria Miuccia and Patrizio Bertelli, Prada's Head of Design and CEO – and owners.


Prada is the iconic Italian luxury group, which produces and designs leather goods, footwear and ready-to-wear clothing.

In addition to Prada, the group is home to Miu Miu, Church’s and Car Shoe.


Prada had already made four attempts at an IPO listing, but a post-9/11 market gloom and the 2007/08 global financial crisis put pay to these efforts.

The holding and operating companies were over €1bn in debt due to a series of ill-fated acquisitions at the turn of the millennium, so an expected near €2bn windfall from floating shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was an extremely attractive proposition – hence a fifth attempt.

Hong Kong topped the IPO proceeds in 2009 and 2010, and provided a 10%-15% price premium for companies compared with other markets.


It was March 2011 when one of Prada’s underwriters, Crédit Agricole, was setting a preliminary price range, structuring the offering and preparing the IPO process ready for June of that year.


Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in south-eastern China. Prada was hoping to become the first Western luxury listing in the area.

Key quote

“The acquisitions’ debt burden nearly broke the company’s back.” – case authors explaining Prada’s perilous position 15 years ago.

What next?

Miuccia and Bertelli had a decision to make in regard to Prada’s valuation – lowballing could mean a lot of money left on the table, and overshooting created the risk of a dismal performance at the IPO and in the aftermarket. What option should they take?

Interested in finding out more?

Download the case and teaching note

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Prada’s Hong Kong IPO
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Teaching note
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Also available:
Prada’s Hong Kong IPO – Abridged version
Ref 116-0050-1B
Supplementary software
Ref 116-0050-4
Instructor spreadsheet
Ref 116-0050-8B
Instructor presentation material
Ref 116-0050-8C

The authors

Denis Gromb and Alberta Di Giuli

Denis and Alberta explain why they chose to write a field research case, and why cases are key to teaching finance.

Icing on the cake.jpg

Icing on the cake

Both authors said: “We wrote the case for our students in different programmes at HEC Paris and ESCP Europe. It’s great to know it’s being picked up by other schools too. The award is the icing on the cake.”

Field research

They continued: “Taking the field research option was absolutely vital on this case.

“We do not disclose anything extra-sensitive but help from Laurent Pellerin at Crédit Agricole was crucial, especially for the material in the teaching note and handouts.”

Plenty of options

Denis and Alberta explained: “We wrote the teaching note and additional material (slides, spreadsheets) for ourselves.

“We needed enough details to pick from so the case could be easily used in different ways for different audiences, from undergraduates to MBAs to executives.”

A global brand

Denis added: “A familiar brand like Prada definitely helps capture the attention of students, but it also means they can contribute their own knowledge or experience of the company, its brands, its products, to class discussions. And with international classrooms like ours, a global brand is great too.”

Cases key to finance discussionCases key to finance discussion

Denis and Alberta said: “To us corporate finance cannot be taught – let alone practiced – in thin air.

“It’s important to understand the basic drivers of the business, its products, its customers. That’s why we like finance cases with a rich business context. They also avoid thinking in silos and allow participants to build bridges across disciplines.

“In addition, we like cases that offer opportunities to explore different side issues depending on the interests and expertise of participants: family businesses, luxury in China. We wrote the Prada case with these ideas in mind. We can teach it twice on the same day and have equally interesting but totally different class discussions and dynamics.”

A case for executives

Denis and Alberta concluded: “We also wrote an abridged version of the case, available via The Case Centre.

“We find that it works well with executives who must analyse the case in teams during the day, or in other programmes where participants have limited time to prepare between sessions. The richness of the full case can then be used during the debrief.”

About the authors

Denis Gromb is the Antin I.P. Chair Professor of Finance at HEC Paris.

Alberta Di Giuli is Associate Professor of Finance at ESCP Europe.


View all the 2018 winners