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Coach reportedly eyeing £1bn deal to acquire Jimmy Choo

Lauretta Roberts
29 April 2017

US giant Coach is reported to be the favourite to acquire British luxury footwear and accessories brand Jimmy Choo, which was put up for sale by owner JAB Luxury last week.

According to The Telegraph, Coach is the frontrunner to acquire the business in a £1bn deal. The US brand is repositioning itself as a luxury group having acquired premium footwear brand Stuart Weitzman and has recently restructured its management to allow for a new group structure.

Former Bergdorf Goodman president Joshua Schulman has been appointed as Coach Brand president, a new role reporting in to Coach Inc CEO Victor Luis. Before joining the US luxury department store five years ago Schulman had been CEO at Jimmy Choo working alongside co-founder Tamara Mellon.

Bergdorf Goodman Coach

Joshua Schulman: former Jimmy Choo CEO, now headed to Coach

Coach has made no secret of its acquisition ambitions. Last summer it made informal acquisition overtures to British luxury house Burberry but was rebuffed and it has also been tipped to acquire US brand Kate Spade, which is on the market (though Michael Kors is also understood to be interested). The Telegraph quotes experts who say Coach has deep enough pockets to buy both Kate Spade and Jimmy Choo if the opportunity arose.

Jimmy Choo has had a number of owners since it was founded by Mellon and the shoe designer of the same name in 1996. Investment houses Lion Capital and TowerBrook Capital have both owned it and TowerBrook sold it to Labelux in 2011 (at which point Mellon and Schulman left). JAB Luxury then took over control of Labelux in 2014 and later that year floated 25% of Jimmy Choo's shares on the London Stock Market, while retaining a controlling 66.7% stake.

JAB, which also has stakes in Bally and Belstaff, is understood to want to exit its fashion and luxury interests and focus on its global food and beauty brands. Its portfolio includes Coty, Krispy Kreme and Jacobs Douwe Egberts. The business is the investment vehicle for the wealthy German Reimann family.

It is understood a number of other suitors may be interested in Jimmy Choo, including Qatar’s Mayhoola, which owns Anya Hindmarch and Valentino. However industry watchers say luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering are unlikely to make bids as both are slimming down their portfolios.

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