Jimmy Choo wants to buy back Jimmy Choo.
In case you haven’t heard, Jimmy Choo, the shoe designer, doesn’t actually own or design for his namesake label. In fact, he hasn’t been involved since 2000. UK private equity firm, TowerBrook, owns the majority of the company. (The other big shareholder is co-founder/chief creative officer Tamara Mellon, who owns 15% of the business.) TowerBrook is keen on selling. LVMH, Valentino, and a few private equity firms have been whispered as potential buyers.
But now Mr. Choo, the original designer and inspiration behind the brand, wants his label back. According to The Daily Mail, Choo has hired adviser Daniel Stewart to help him move forward with a £500 million offer for the company. (Choo will need investors to back his bid. Stewart will help him find the right ones.)
Does he have a chance? Possibly, says Lauren Goldstein Crowe, author of The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe.
“It’s feasible that an Asian investor would be interested,” she says. Especially because the name Jimmy Choo itself is Asian–a rarity in the world of luxury branding.
If the money is right, TowerBrook may take the offer. But the real Choo’s ownership of the company would alienate Mellon. And TowerBrook has stated in the past that they would support her and her CEO, Joshua Schulman.
One thing is for certain: If Choo does take over the brand, Mellon will no longer be involved. Says Crowe, “Certainly Tamara would not stick around.”