Bidding Heats up Over Jimmy Choo Ownership

From Jimmy Choo's Pre-Fall collection

From Jimmy Choo's Pre-Fall collection

London—Just as women line up to snag the latest Jimmy Choo high heels, a growing list of bidders are lining up making bids to takeover the high-end British shoe brand.

On Monday, TPG confirmed Monday that it is bidding for Jimmy Choo, which is being put for sale by TowerBook Capital, which along with its affiliates purchased an 83% stake in the shoe brand for $297 million in 2007.

Sale Price Might Exceed $825 Million

According to reports in the British press, TPG is one of three bidders. The other two include Jones Group Inc., whose brands include Nine West, Jones New York and Stuart Weitzman; and a third bid apparently came from Bahrain-based Investcorp, which is working on a joint bid with German luxury company Labelux Group.  Although the three bidding companies have declined comment on their bids, The Daily Mail reported that TPG is one of three parties to have made “an opening 500 million pound (about $825 million) bid” for Jimmy Choo.

TowerBook Capital has indicated it expects to get about $653 million to $817 million for its controlling stake in Jimmy Choo. Tamara Mellon, one of the founders, retains a 17% stake.

But other companies also are apparently interested, including LVMH, which recently acquired stakes in Hermes and bought Bulgari. Rumors also circulated that Jimmy Choo himself, has been in talks with TPG and LVMH about launching a joint bid. TPG denied any such affiliations.

Choo, co-founded Jimmy Choo Inc. in 1996 with Mellon, previously an accessories editor at British Vogue. Choo sold his 50% stake in 2001 for 10 million pounds and has little to do with namesake brand since. Not to mention Choo and Mellon parted on less-than-friendly terms, reports said.

Chief among the reasons for such interest in the luxury brand is the possibility of expanding the Jimmy Choo brand in Asia, particularly China. Not to mention the brand’s potential in men’s footwear as well as expanding its handbag business.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are running the sale process and next bids are due in mid-May.

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