By  on February 5, 2007

LONDON — Jimmy Choo has been sold to TowerBrook Capital Partners LP, an international private equity firm.

The sale comes more than two years after Lion Capital, formerly Hicks Muse, acquired a majority stake in the company.

Jimmy Choo, Lion Capital and TowerBrook said in a statement Sunday that the enterprise value of the deal was 185 million pounds, or $364.5 million at current exchange.

The statement added that TowerBrook will be the majority owner of the company and that Gala Capital, the Spanish private equity firm, would be investing alongside TowerBrook.

Tamara Mellon, president and founder of Jimmy Choo, will continue to have direct oversight of the accessories firm's creative direction, image and promotional activities. She will work with Sandra Choi, creative director of the company, and will remain a significant shareholder.

In July, WWD reported that Choi was planning to not renew her contract. But that never happened, and industry sources said she later worked out a deal with company principals.

"This new partnership will not only give us the ability to meet the growing demand for our range of products, but also achieve my original vision for Jimmy Choo to be one of the world's most treasured luxury brands," Mellon said.

Ramez Sousou, co-chief executive officer of TowerBrook, said his company is looking forward to "working with the management team to continue Jimmy Choo's dramatic growth and success."

Lyndon Lea, founding partner of Lion Capital, which had acquired Choo in November 2004, said, "Having realized our return expectations, we have decided to exit our investment, thereby enabling fresh capital to support the next stage of Choo's development," adding that "substantial potential" remains for the brand, particularly in Asia.

Robert Bensoussan, ceo of Jimmy Choo, will work alongside TowerBrook to seek potential acquisitions in the luxury goods sector, the statement said.

Bensoussan said future growth would come both from international development and expanding beyond footwear, handbags and small leather goods.

Jimmy Choo's sales are 65 million pounds, or $128.1 million, and the company has 60 branded stores worldwide.

Mellon is working on developing new lines, including lingerie, swimwear, fragrance and sunglass lines.

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