LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is set to sell Donna Karan International to the G-III Apparel Group.

The French firm, which is the largest luxury conglomerate in the world, confirmed it has agreed a deal with the American manufacturing and licensing company which also owns Andrew Marc, Vilebrequin and Bass.

In total, the deal is worth as much as $650 million, according to The New York Times newspaper.

Antonio Belloni, LVMH group managing director, explained G-III ''has the expertise and capabilities to broaden the brand's distribution and take it to its next level of success''.

He explained, too, that the French company had not been looking to sell Donna Karan until it was approached by G-III, which also holds the licenses for Ivanka Trump, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

The decision to sell the brand has been seen by industry experts as a rare admission of failure on the part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which is noted for supporting its brands.

Luca Solca, head of global luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, said: ''Getting rid of loss-making businesses is second best to turning them around, but better than keeping them in the group as a perpetual drag.''

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought Donna Karan in 2001 for $643 million, but the brand's creator announced that she would be stepping down as head of her eponymous company last year.

The 67-year-old designer is no longer involved in the company that bears her name and is instead focused on her Urban Zen line of products, which are centered on wellness.