Jimmy Choo wants to buy back brand he co-founded 15 years ago

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Mar 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Jimmy Choo, whose haute couture shoes are coveted by royalty and many world famous women, has hired London-listed broking firm Daniel Stewart to help him on a potential £500mil (RM2.4bil) bid to buy back the company he co-founded 15 years ago.

The current owner, TowerBrook Capital Partners, recently announced its intention to sell the acclaimed Jimmy Choo fashion brand and hired investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley to find a buyer.

In 2001, the London-based Malaysian-born designer sold his 50% stake to his business partner, British Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon. Her company now sells the high-end Jimmy Choo fashion footwear worldwide.

After his brand was sold, Choo started producing custom-made shoes from his shop in Connaught Street, London

Major shareholder and chief executive of Daniel Stewart, Adam Wilson, who was recently in Kuala Lumpur, confirmed that his broking firm was interested in the bid to buy back the brand.

He is now building a syndicate to raise capital for the bid and has seen interested parties who are very keen on funding the brand for Choo.

“Jimmy Choo is a world leading luxury goods brand and it is no surprise that Asian investors want to gain exposure to its unique space within the luxury goods market.

“It would be great for Malaysia to invest in its own world renowned icon,” said Wilson, who met the designer through his (Wilson’s) wife.

Choo had made the christening shoes for their daughter some seven years ago.

“Yes, Adam is acting on my behalf to buy back the brand,” Choo told The Star in a phone interview.

This is the first time Choo and Wilson have commented publicly on their bid to the press.

Choo is believed to be seeking legal advice from Matrix, the law firm owned by Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair.

It is understood the interested parties from Daniel Stewart see huge growth potential in taking an established brand like Jimmy Choo, and expanding it to the world’s largest market – Asia, particularly in China, where there is a growing number of rich customers.

“With Jimmy back with the brand, it will be well set for future growth both in China and across the region,” Wilson said, adding that about 80% of the world’s population had been forecast to live in Asia by 2020.

Choo, however, faces stiff competition.

It is understood that there are some 10 bidders eyeing the brand, including Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (LVMH).

LVMH owns Louis Vuitton luggage and Veuve Clicquot champagne.

The group, owned by France’s richest man Bernard Arnault, is on an acquisition trail, having acquired Italian watchmaker Bulgari for said £3.2bil (RM15.8bil) last week.

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