How Jimmy Choo Became the Most Bought and Sold Brand in Luxury Shoes

Jimmy Choo New Year's Eve Sparkly
Courtesy of brand

There’s no question that Jimmy Choo has been a hot acquisition target since its inception in 1996. The brand’s blockbuster deal with Michael Kors, valued at $1.2 billion, will mark the fifth time the company has been sold.

The boards of directors of Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and Jimmy Choo PLC said early Tuesday they reached an agreement for a recommended cash acquisition by which the entire issued and to-be-issued ordinary-share capital of Jimmy Choo will be acquired by JAG Acquisitions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Michael Kors.

Following the announcement, shares in Jimmy Choo surged 17.1 percent to 2.28 pounds ($2.97) on the London Stock Exchange.

However, Kors stockholders were skeptical and sent shares of the firm down 4 percent to $33.53 in the opening minutes of trading on Wall Street. It is not unusual for shares of companies making acquisitions to fall, given the sudden outlay of funds and integration risks.

Here’s a look back through the acquisitions of the last 21 years.

2001: After just five years in business, Jimmy Choo proved there was huge potential in the luxury shoe space with the brand’s very first deal. Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon helped engineer the move, which saw Jimmy Choo (the company’s namesake and other co-founder) shed his 50 percent stake. Robert Bensoussan’s Equinox Luxury Holdings, backed by Phoenix Equity Partners, bought a 51 percent share of the firm in a deal valued around 20 million pounds.

Tamara Mellon Tamara Mellon REX Shutterstock.

2004: The growth of the high-end shoe market continued during Bensoussan’s first few years, and the executive team was able to strike a management-backed deal with Lion Capital for around 100 million pounds.

2007: Bensoussan exited the business in 2007 when he, Mellon and Lion Capital flipped the brand again, this time selling it for 225 million pounds to TowerBrook Capital. As part of the TowerBrook deal, the company brought on a new chief, Josh Schulman, who (along with Mellon) was at the center of many big growth initiatives over the next five years.

Robert Bensoussan

2011: Labelux, a division of JAB Holdings, acquired Jimmy Choo for about 500 million pounds (or $800 million at the time). The deal marked a major transition for the company: Both Schulman and Mellon left; Sandra Choi, Choo’s niece and one of the original members of the team, soon took the creative reins of the company; and the current CEO, Pierre Denis, assumed control of the executive side.

Jimmy Choo's Pierre Denis and Sandra Choi Jimmy Choo’s Pierre Denis and Sandra Choi Courtesy photo

2017: As Jimmy Choo kicked off the sale process again, the luxury market has never been more competitive or more complicated. While the brand has continued to show impressive growth by targeting hot geographic markets like Asia and fresh categories like men’s footwear, the climate is uncertain.

July 2017: Michael Kors reveals plans to buy Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion. The company  will continue to operate under Denis and Choi. John D. Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors, called Choo “an iconic brand with a rich history.” He said the company “is a leader in setting fashion trends. Its innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship resonate with trendsetters globally. We believe that Jimmy Choo is poised for meaningful growth in the future, and we are committed to supporting the strong brand equity that Jimmy Choo has built over the last 20 years.” — With contributions from Samantha Conti