“The whole luxury industry is attractive to a lot of people simply because the growth rates and margins are high,” said Erwan Rambourg, luxury analyst at HSBC Bank.
But just who will walk away with the company remains unknown. Speculation mounted last week about potential bidders, as well as the possibility that the company could float an initial public offering in Hong Kong.
Several high-profile names have been mentioned in the financial press as possible buyers, including private equity group TPG Capital, The Jones Group Inc. and a consortium comprising Bahraini private equity fund Investcorp and Vienna-based luxury goods group Labelux. Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy has also been suggested as a potential suitor.
Jones Group CEO Wesley Card declined to comment on reports that his firm is bidding to acquire Jimmy Choo, but reiterated that Jones continues to look for “companies with great talent, great brands, good balance and distribution.”
However, Card added, “we have been moving more toward contemporary product and more into the upper end. Stuart Weitzman was a great example of the type of acquisition we have been doing.”
While Antonio Belloni, group managing director of LVMH, didn’t confirm if the company had entered a bid, he admitted to Footwear News it would be an interesting acquisition for the right company.
“We will obviously [consider it] if there is something that adds value to our portfolio,” he said. “Jimmy Choo is a great brand, and it’s out for somebody to pick up.”
Second-round bids for the firm are due in mid-May.