Jimmy Choo owner mulls £500m sale

THE OWNERS of luxury fashion brand Jimmy Choo are likely to put the firm up for sale, according to people familiar with the situation.

The designer shoe-maker, which is majority owned by private equity house Towerbrook Capital, could change hands for as much as £500m.

A sale was first mooted in September last year, after Towerbrook appointed investment bankers Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to complete a “strategic review” of the retailer. It is understood that the review is likely to recommend a sale.

A deal could net the label’s co-founder Tamara Mellon, who owns a fifth of the fashion group, as much as £100m.

Mellon, who received an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list last year, founded the company with Malaysian-born shoe-maker Jimmy Choo in 1996.

Towerbrook also asked Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to examine whether to float Jimmy Choo on the stock market, or whether to keep hold of the company.

If Jimmy Choo were to list, it would be following fellow luxury brand Prada, which last month announced an offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Towerbrook bought a controlling 83 per cent stake in the brand in 2007 from Lion Capital for £185m.

Luxury products have enjoyed a return in demand following the recession.

A spokesperson for the private equity house said last night it was looking at a “range of options,” with the outcome of the strategic review due this spring.

KBC Peel Hunt analyst John Stevenson said 2011 could be a boom year for retail M&A activity.

He said: “There are quite a lot of sales that could come up this year, it’s becoming a peak time for retail.”