Purse-seller bags shoe-firm deal
$1.2 billion Jimmy Choo buy widens Michael Kors’ footprint.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy Jimmy Choo PLC for about $1.2 billion, as the maker of handbags popular with the commuter set seeks to restore lost luster by adding Sex and
the City stilettos.
The purchase of Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors’ first deal to expand beyond its own brand name since its initial public offering in 2011, gives a presence in higher-end luxury to the New York fashion and accessories company, in a move similar to Coach Inc.’s 2015 acquisition of shoemaker Stuart Weitzman.
London- based Jimmy Choo rose to prominence in the late 1990s with highprofile devotees including the late Princess Diana and the fictional Carrie Bradshaw in the television series
Sex and the City. The deal comes amid consolidation in the U.S. luxury industry, with Coach also agreeing to buy Kate Spade & Co. this year.
“Again, Michael Kors follows the path of Coach — and again, on steroids,” wrote Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. “After a meteoric rise and spectacular crash, it is now the time to recycle cash into other brands.”
Michael Kors has been closing stores and reducing its exposure to department stores in an effort to enhance its exclusivity. Alongside Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, Michael Kors has struggled to maintain its brand image after broadly distributing its products in discount stores and outlet malls. On the Macy’s website, for example, the brand’s signature $298 tote bags are currently sold for as low as $149.
Chief Executive Officer John Idol said the company still plans to make more acquisitions of luxury brands and would consider purchases or mergers in the luxury footwear and accessories categories — especially those like Jimmy Choo that are backed by a founder “who has a true vision for what their brand is.”
Idol said the goal is to create an “international luxury company” and added that Michael Kors would be less interested in brands that are “a little bit more broadly distributed” that rely on wholesale, he said on a conference call.
Jimmy Choo competes with the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin for the attention of fans of high-heeled women’s shoes, selling models like the $800 Lance. The brand gets
its name from its Malaysianborn co-founder, who created it in 1996 with British designer Tamara Mellon and opened its first store in London a year later.
JAB Holding Co., owned by the billionaire Reimann family, has committed to sell its 68 percent stake. The investment company bought Jimmy Choo for more than $652 million in 2011 and later pared its holdings in a 2014 initial public offering. Before that, Jimmy Choo has been bought and sold by privateequity investors three times.
In April, JAB said it was reviewing options for the shoe brand and leather-goods maker Bally International AG to step away from fashion and footwear. The company plans to focus on its food and beverage businesses, which has grown into one of the world’s largest coffee sellers through acquisitions of brands such as Caribou Coffee Co., Krispy
Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread.
Michael Kors will pay $3 a share for the luxury shoemaker, a premium of 18 percent over Monday’s close, the companies said Tuesday.
Michael Kors stock has lost about two-thirds of its value since peaking in February 2014. The stock had more than doubled in the two years prior. Jimmy Choo shares rose as much as 17 percent in London on Tuesday, coming within 1 penny of the bid price. Shares of Michael Kors rose 2 cents to close Tuesday at $34.93.
“Jimmy Choo is a higherend brand that gives Kors a bit more diversity,” said John Guy, luxury analyst and managing director at MainFirst Bank AG.
The deal could be susceptible to a counteroffer, Guy said, as some minority shareholders are likely to hold out for a better price.
Customers exit a Michael Kors store under construction in New York on June 11. The handbagmaker has agreed to buy Jimmy Choo PLC for about $1.2 billion.