The fashion entrepreneur Tamara Mellon, who founded the Jimmy Choo shoe empire, is considering a bid to buy back the business she started 16 years ago. It is rumored that she will have strong financial backing should she go forward with an offer. Several investors have approached her to be a part of her efforts. The brand became recognized worldwide due to the frequent referral to it on the highly acclaimed series Sex and the City.
Mellon currently owns 17 per cent share in the business. The majority stake is owned by the London based private equity group TowerBrook Capital. The company has let it be known they are considering refinancing, a sale or even a stock market float. This has led Mellon to consider a bid for the company.
The company which was founded in 1996 was backed by a loan of 150,000 pounds from Mellon’s father who himself had successfully founded the Vidal Sassoon empire of hair products and salons. She was then employed by Vogue as an accessories editor for the magazine. Her job led her to meet a custom cobbler in London named Jimmy Choo. She not only based a company on the Malaysian born cobbler’s designs and talents but named the company after him.
The company has shown strong sales growth of about 30 per cent a year on average since 2001. It now has a fuller fashion line that includes other fashion accessories besides shoes. Venture capitalists are attracted to the brand due to its growth but also its high profile among celebrities and the rich and famous. This almost certainly assures a strong place in the market for years to come.
Majority ownership has changed hands throughout the years from Mellon to Phoenix Equity Partners for 18 million pounds, then to Lion Capital for 101 million pounds, and finally to TowerBrook who purchased the company in 2007 for 187 million pounds. Should Mellon put in an offer it is expected it will be 500 million pounds for the company’s majority ownership.