Jimmy Choo Shares Rise on Upbeat Sales Trends, Investcorp Rumor

Shares in Jimmy Choo closed up 1.3 percent at 2 pounds, or $2.57, on Thursday following a brief yet bullish trading update and a report that private equity firm Investcorp may be interested in buying the brand, which put itself up for sale in April.

The company said ahead of its annual meeting that it’s been making “excellent” progress, trading strongly in the year to date, in line with management’s expectations. Choo said all categories have shown strong growth in the period, with men’s remaining the star performer. The company also said its fragrance business with Inter Parfums is performing particularly well.

“The prospects for the business are stronger than ever,” Peter Harf, chairman of Jimmy Choo, said. “We see significant opportunities for growth ahead of the market and margin expansion.”

The brand’s current market capitalization is 779.5 million pounds, or $1 billion.

Choo said it continues to see “strong progress” in Asia and Japan, with good development in EMEA and the U.S., where it has recently rolled out a new omnichannel service. It has joint ventures planned in the UAE and South Korea for the second half of the year. Since the start of the year, the brand has opened six stores and completed eight renovations.

On Thursday, London’s Evening Standard newspaper wrote that Investcorp has “joined the queue” of suitors looking to make an offer for Choo, which is part-owned by JAB, parent of Bally — which is also on the block — and Belstaff. The first bids are due in mid-June.

Jimmy Choo and Investcorp both declined to comment.

It’s no surprise that the Bahrain-based Investcorp, an early luxury adopter, is interested. Once the high-profile owner of Riva Boats, Gucci, Tiffany & Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue, it later took a step back to focus on other sectors before making a comeback with the purchase of Danish jeweler Georg Jensen in 2012.

Last June, Investcorp took a majority stake in the high-end Italian tailor Corneliani. The group comprises three business areas: corporate investment, real estate and global hedge funds. It has typically exited its fashion investments through public listings.

Other companies said to be looking at Jimmy Choo include Michael Kors and Coach Inc., although Coach recently acquired Kate Spade for $2.4 billion.

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