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|| Bahrain investment firm in bidding war to acquire Jimmy Choo

investcorp-jimmychoo.jpgBahrain-based investment firm Investcorp is in a bidding war with two other firms to acquire the upmarket shoe retailer Jimmy Choo.

Investcorp is jointly bidding with German luxury firm Labelux Group. U.S. buyout firm TPG and U.S. apparel retailer Jones Group, whose brands include Nine West and Jones New York are other bidders. Reports suggest Jimmy Choo is worth between $650 million and $850 million.

Investcorp is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code OR30.

More details follows from the MarketWatch

U.S. buyout firm TPG confirmed that it is bidding for upmarket shoe retailer Jimmy Choo, but it denied published reports that it is talks with the founder of the eponymous company himself about a possible joint bid.

TPG is one of three bidders for the retail group, people familiar have said. The other two bids are from U.S. apparel retailer Jones Group Inc. (JNY), whose brands include Nine West and Jones New York; and Bahrain-based Investcorp (INVCORP.BH), which is working on a joint bid with German luxury company Labelux Group, the people familiar said.

TPG declined to provide further information about its bid. But it denied a published report that it was in talks with Jimmy Choo himself on a joint bid.

Jimmy Choo is being sold by owner TowerBrook Capital, which bought the shoe retailer for GBP180 million from Lion Capital in February 2007. It is the lead investor and together with its affiliates and co-investors controls 83% of the company. Tamara Mellon who helped set up the business retains a 17% stake.

Reports suggest Jimmy Choo is worth between GBP400 million and GBP500 million.

As with all current luxury deals, the driver behind an acquisition will be to expand the Jimmy Choo brand in Asia and, in particular China, which is the key engine for growth in the region. There is also the opportunity to extend the Jimmy Choo brand to men's shoes as well as to boost sales of handbags.

Labelux may find the push into Asia more difficult because it already owns the competing Bally brand, which it bought from TPG in 2008, people said.

Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) are running the sale process and next bids are due in mid-May.

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