Luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo puts itself up for sale

Jimmy Choo, the spiked-heeled shoe brand made popular on Sex and the City, surprised the fashion world Monday by saying it's seeking a buyer. PHOTO: REUTERS
Luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo is currently reviewing its stategic options to maximise shareholder value.
Luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo is currently reviewing its stategic options to maximise shareholder value. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Investment firm JAB put shoemakers Jimmy Choo and Bally International up for sale, focusing on its growing food and coffee operations and seeking to benefit from a rebound in sales of luxury footwear and accessories.

JAB Luxury, part of the investment arm of the billionaire Reimann family, said Monday it's reviewing strategic options for Jimmy Choo and Bally.

The closely held company has expanded a push into non-luxury areas, this month agreeing to buy Panera Bread for about US$7.2 billion (S$10 billion), adding a bakery-cafe chain to a food empire that spans coffee, bagels and doughnuts.

It's also the biggest shareholder in cosmetics maker Coty.

"JAB has made the strategic decision to focus on its successful core businesses of consumer goods, including Coty," it said.

London-based Jimmy Choo, the maker of 895-pound (S$1,597) Lolita 100 sandals, said Monday it will conduct a review of strategic options to maximize value for shareholders and is seeking offers. JAB followed with separate statements saying it supported the Jimmy Choo review and is considering options for Bally, the Swiss-based seller of clothing and footwear.

Jimmy Choo, whose fans have ranged from the late Princess Diana to the fictional Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and the City", has seen its shares rebound over the past nine months as demand for premium goods has revived.

The brand could attract interest from a larger luxury player trying to build up its portfolio of shoes and accessories, which are seeing rising consumer demand amid a rebound in key markets like China.

Before agreeing to buy Panera Bread, JAB snapped up chains including Peet's Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, turning it into one of three big global players in the coffee business alongside Starbucks and Nestle.

Jimmy Choo shares rose 9.8 per cent to a record 185 pence at 9:52 a.m. in London, valuing the company at about 702 million pounds.

Jimmy Choo's products are sold at more than 150 of its own shops worldwide, as well as department stores and other outlets. Revenue rose 15 per cent last year to 364 million pounds, boosted by the fall in the pound since the UK's vote to leave the European Union, which increases the value of overseas sales when converted into the British currency.