Jimmy Choo Bravely Steps Onto The London Market After IPO

Others might have been put off by the turmoil in the markets, but luxury footwear maker Jimmy Choo plc on Friday, Oct. 17, put a designer boot through the closing IPO window to start conditional trading on the London Stock Exchange.

The shoemaker to the stars priced its initial public offering at 140 pence a share late on Thursday, at the bottom of its bookbuilding range, just days after lopping the top 20 pence off its initial 140 pence to 180 pence spread. But after reassuring themselves that the offer would be fully covered during the final days of the roadshow, its bankers decided to go ahead with the float.

"Today's announcement marks an important milestone for Jimmy Choo and recognises not only the appeal of our high quality products but also confidence in our ability to outperform the luxury shoe market," Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis said in a statement echoing the bravado of the decision.

Jimmy Choo made its debut just before WL Ross & Co. LLC and Richard Branson-backed consumer lender Virgin Money Holdings (UK) plc postponed a planned London listing that had been scheduled for October. The IPO had aimed to raise £150 million ($241.6 million) in new money, and Virgin Money said it still aims to list "as soon as constructive market conditions allow."

Jimmy Choo shares were trading back at the offer price by early afternoon London time after an initial pop of just three pence on opening took it to a high of 143 pence. At the offer price, the company has a market capitalization of £545.6 million.

The company has previously indicated it believes it still has room to grow despite the troubles of some other luxury goods businesses in recent months caused by the new anti-ostentation mood in China, arguing that it is still "underpenetrated" in Asia.

The flotation provides a partial exit and gross proceeds of £141 million for JAB Luxury GmbH, an affiliate of the privately held Joh. A. Benckiser Group GmbH, which last month agreed to buy Lakewood-Colo.-based Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. (BAGL) for about $375 million and remains the largest shareholder in the largest shareholder in household products maker Reckitt Benckiser Group plc.

Jimmy Choo will use the CHOO ticker and starts life as a public company with a 25.9% free float of the 389.7 million-plus shares in issue. As well as JAB Luxury, which will retain 70.2% of the company, before the greenshoe, an employee benefit trust will receive gross proceeds of £34,349. Senior managers and directors will hold about 2% of the stock while other employees of both the company, JAB Luxury and its parent group will receive shares worth about £900,000.

Federico Aliboni, James Fleming, Peter Luck and Paul Bundred of Bank of America Merrill Lynch are acting as sole sponsor, sole global co-ordinator and joint bookrunner on the IPO. Natalie Blyth, Andrew Judge, Luca Pietrantoni and Richard Fagan of HSBC Bank plc are acting as joint bookrunner, and Cornelius Clotten and Christopher Richert of BHF Bank AG are co-lead managing.

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