Upscale shoe-maker Jimmy Choo is being sold to German luxury-goods company Labelux GmbH, the latest deal in a flurry of luxury-goods acquisitions as the industry rebounds from the economic crisis. Labelux, a small holding company that already owns the Swiss shoe brand Bally, on Sunday said it is buying the iconic stiletto label from TowerBrook Capital. Financial details weren’t disclosed, but earlier reports suggested Jimmy Choo was valued at £400 million to £550 million ($650 million to $895 million). Labelux also owns the Derek Lam fashion house and British jeweler Solange Azagury-Partridge.
“Jimmy Choo is an outstanding brand with enormous growth potential and the ability to deliver material growth synergies across our group,” Labelux Chief Executive Reinhard Mieck said. Jimmy Choo’s sale marks a rare high point for private equity in the fickle fashion business. The brand that found fame on the feet of “Sex and the City” characters has changed hands three times in seven years, providing its private-equity owners with big profits each time.
Other private-equity acquisitions in high-end fashion haven’t been as successful. Permira, which bought Valentino Fashion Group for €2.7 billion ($3.8 billion) four years ago, has renegotiated its debt and struggled to find the right designer to lead the group. Jimmy Choo was founded jointly in 1996 by a cobbler— who made shoes for such fashion leaders as Princess Diana—and Vogue magazine editor Tamara Mellon. Choo first fell into the hands of private equity in 2001, the year that Mr. Choo exited the business. TowerBrook Capital bought 83% in February 2007 for £180 million. Ms. Mellon, who retains a 17% stake, will continue as chief creative officer.
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