Handbag maker Michael Kors has agreed to acquire Jimmy Choo for $1.35 billion, making a big move into luxury shoes as it seeks new sources of growth.
The deal announced Tuesday is a merger of red-carpet favorites that have somewhat fallen on hard times. Upscale brands like Michael Kors have faced plummeting sales and tepid profits in the U.S. while U.K.-based Jimmy Choo has, according to Fortune, “lost some of its luster because of discounting at American department stores.”
Michael Kors, still the top U.S. handbag brand with 24.8% of the market, will pay 230 pence, or about $3, per share for Jimmy Choo, representing a 36.5% premium to the price in April, before the shoe company announced it was putting itself up for sale.
“We believe that Jimmy Choo is poised for meaningful growth in the future and our company is committed to supporting the strong brand equity that Jimmy Choo has built over the last 20 years,” Kors CEO John D. Idol said in a news release.
Jimmy Choo was founded in 1996 by its namesake, a Malaysian cobbler, and Tamara Mellon, an editor at British Vogue. The brand sprang to prominence during the run of the television show “Sex and the City,” which, according to Retail Dive, “positioned the uber-pricey footwear as a symbol of success for fashionable, independent women in New York City.”
Kors believes it can grow Jimmy Choo’s sales to $1 billion a year, roughly double what it makes now, by opening new Jimmy Choo retail stores, expanding its fashion offerings, and developing its online presence.
For Kors, the deal “presents an opportunity to enter the high end of the luxury market, to increase sales and to diversify away from its own brand, especially at a time when it is experiencing declining same-store sales,” Jonathan Buxton, the head of consumer and retail at Cavendish Corporate Finance, told The New York Times.
But Fortune warned that Kors “could be tempted to exhaust the [Jimmy Choo] brand and devalue it as it did its namesake brand when it opened stores at countless malls and made growth more important than protecting brand value.”