Towerbrook will be the lead investor and majority owner of 80% of the company joined by gala Capital a Spanish private equity firm and company founder Tamara Mellon and CEO Robert Bensoussan who will hold the other 20% stake. Executives at TowerBrook have known Mellon and Bensoussan for sometime and exclusively negotiated the deal. Unlike Lion Capital Partners, who are also invested with La Senza, a luxury boutique lingerie firm, the Choo acquisition is TowerBrook’s first foray into the luxury goods sector. TowerBrooks portfolio to date mostly consists of healthcare and cable companies. But partner Andrew Rolf has extensive international expansion expertise in retail as a former executive of Gap International and Pret a Mange. The group thinks Jimmy Choo has great potential for further international growth – especially in Asia.
Jimmy Choo was founded in 1996 and acquired by Lion Capital in 2004. Lion helped the shoemaker expand from 23 shops to over 60 branded stores worldwide. The range of products has also been successfully extended from shoes to bags and small leather goods. Jimmy Choo’s sales have grown since 2001 at a compound rate of over 45% to more than £65m today.
Lyndon Lea, founding partner of Lion Capital said: “Having realized our return expectations we have decided to exit our investment thereby enabling fresh capital to support the next stage of Jimmy Choo’s development.”
Ramez Sousou, Co-CEO of TowerBrook, said: “We are delighted with this acquisition of one of the most innovative and successful brands in the luxury goods sector. Jimmy Choo has achieved world-wide renound almost unparalled for such a young brand and we look forward to working with the management team to continue Jimmy Choo’s dramatic growth.”