Jimmy Choo fits Hicks Muse

Hicks Muse (Europe) fast-tracked its way to the front of the Jimmy Choo auction, clinching an iconic accessory brand and illustrating perhaps how other middle-market assets might be won on timing. Travers Smith, lawyers for vendor Phoenix Equity Partners, first met with representatives of the buyout firm four days before the contract was signed on November 18. The speed of the process put the firm ahead of other suitors and significantly reduced the timeframe in which rivals could sweeten their bids.

Under normal circumstances, the time between the initial meeting and the signing of a sales contract can extend for up to a month. Hicks Muse acquired Jimmy Choo for a value of £101m. Exiting shareholder Phoenix acquired 51% of the business in 2001 for £10m. It is now looking at a return of just under four times on the investment and an IRR of 55%.

The board of Jimmy Choo appointed Rothschild to review the strategic options for the business. Under the terms of the transaction, Robert Bensoussan will continue as CEO of Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon will continue as president of the company.

Welcoming the announcement, Robert Bensoussan, said: “Since its launch in 1997, the company has enjoyed rapid growth, which has accelerated significantly over the past three years.”

“Jimmy Choo is a super iconic brand in the luxury goods market,” said Lyndon Lea of Hicks Muse. “We are excited . . . to continue to support the dynamic growth of the Jimmy Choo brand.”