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Michael Kors and PE houses in running to buy Jimmy Choo

Lauretta Roberts
14 July 2017

Michael Kors and two private equity houses are said to be in the running to acquire British luxury footwear and accessories brand Jimmy Choo.

The brand was put up for sale by its owner JAB Luxury in April of this year and US group Michael Kors was an early name in the frame to buy it. According to Sky News, the group is close to tabling an indicative bid for the business which is said to have an asking price of around £800m.

Chinese PE house Hony, which owns restaurant chain Pizza Express, and CVC Capital Partners, the former owner of Debenhams, are both likely to make a bid, Sky reports. One other unnamed party is also believed to be interested.

It had previously been reported that Coach, which this week completed its acquisition of Kate Spade, had been interested in buying Jimmy Choo and industry watchers believed it had the cash and capability to buy both businesses as it reshapes itself into a multi-brand luxury house. It also recently recruited former Jimmy Choo CEO Joshua Schulman as president of the Coach brand.

Jimmy Choo has had a number of owners since it was founded by former fashion editor Tamara 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 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. Any company acquiring JAB's stake would be required to make a bid for the entire business under UK takeover law.

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.

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