LONDON — Tamara Mellon was in London this week, talking to potential purchasers of a majority stake in Jimmy Choo — which is still not officially up for sale.

This story first appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Among the companies keen to purchase TowerBrook Capital Partners’ stake is TPG Capital, whose London office is run by the retail expert Philippe Costeletos, co-head of TPG in Europe. Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Labelux, Reinhard Mieck, is spearheading his company’s bid, in tandem with Investcorp. Jones New York is also reported to be in the running, as is a fourth candidate — a private equity fund. All parties — including TowerBrook — have declined to comment.

Meanwhile, a source close to Choo said it is “unlikely” the current owners, which include Mellon, will sell for less than 500 million pounds, or $810 million at current exchange. Some industry insiders say that’s an optimistic price based more on Choo’s potential — in the Asian market in particular — rather than on its current successful performance. Revenues are about 150 million pounds, or $243 million at current exchange, and have more than doubled since TowerBrook purchased the company in 2007.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Daniel Stewart, the London-based investment bank and corporate advisory firm, told WWD its interest was still very much alive. As reported, Daniel Stewart wants to invest in the company along with Mr. Jimmy Choo, who co-founded the firm with Mellon in 1996.

“Our bid has not died,” he said. “There are still a number of options on the table.”

A second round of bids is due in mid-May.

Last year TowerBrook retained Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to explore long-term strategic options for Choo, and the review will most likely result in a sale, but it could also lead to an initial public offering, according to sources. TowerBrook principals have been working alongside Mellon, the brand’s chief creative officer and a substantial shareholder in the business, and chief executive officer Joshua Schulman.

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