If the Jimmy Choo fits

Equinox Luxury Holdings Ltd has completed its first transaction, acquiring a 50 per cent stake in luxury shoe and handbag wholesaler and retailer, Jimmy Choo Ltd for an estimated GBP10.6 million. Equinox was established by Phoenix Equity Partners and Robert Bensoussan, former chief executive of Christian Lacroix, to acquire majority shareholdings in family-owned, European high-end luxury goods businesses and to grow the businesses by providing management expertise and financial resources.

Jimmy Choo was established in 1996 by the designer himself, president Tamara Mellon and Tom Yeardye, chairman of the international business. Over the years, the brand has enjoyed increasing publicity from style icons who wear the label such as singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker who is often seen parading in her Jimmy Choos in the US hit TV series Sex in the City.

The business currently has four boutiques in London, New York, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas and a wholesaling business with 150 stockists. With Equinox’s backing, the business plans to expand to 25 retails stores over the next three to five years.

Robert Bensoussen, chairman and chief executive of Equinox, will become CEO of Jimmy Choo Ltd. He has over 16 years’ international experience in the field of fashion and luxury goods as managing director, advisor and investor and has been involved with prestige brands such as Lacoste, Sonia Rykiel, Escada and Burberry. In 1999, he put together the GBP100 million Joseph LBO.

Tamara Mellon, president of Jimmy Choo Ltd, said: “In Equinox, I have found the ideal partners to share my vision for the development of Jimmy Choo Ltd. I am very exited about the company’s prospects and this transaction will enable us to achieve our development goals even more rapidly.”