By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) - British luxury retailer Jimmy Choo has put itself up for sale to try to maximize shareholder value as majority investor JAB increases its focus on consumer goods.
JAB Luxury also said on Monday it was reviewing its ownership of Bally International, the Swiss luxury footwear and accessories company, clearing the way for a possible sale of that business too.
Jimmy Choo, famous for its stiletto shoes and accessories, has discussed its plans with 68 percent shareholder JAB, which supports the process as part of a move away from a luxury sector it now considers "non-core".
Jimmy Choo shares hit a record high, valuing the business at around 720 million pounds ($921 million).
JAB Holdings, the investment vehicle of Germany's billionaire Reimann family, has been building up its coffee and food chains and agreed this month to buy bakery group Panera Bread for $7.2 billion.
Shares in Jimmy Choo, which floated on the London Stock Exchange at 140 pence in 2014, had increased 35 percent over the last year prior to Monday's announcement. They rose as much as 11.3 percent and by 1227 GMT were up 9.5 percent at 185 pence.
"What remains to be seen is whether growing interest from Asia and the Middle East for luxury UK brands, will see Jimmy Choo receiving offers from foreign buyers searching for well-known British brands," said Jonathan Buxton, partner and head of consumer at Cavendish Corporate Finance.
Last month Jimmy Choo reported a 15.7 percent rise in annual core earnings to 59 million pounds, on revenue up 14.5 percent.
JAB's luxury portfolio also includes British jacket brand Belstaff which could now be surplus to requirements. It indicated that it intended to retain its investment in beauty products maker Coty.
"JAB has therefore made the strategic decision to focus on its successful core businesses of consumer goods, including Coty Inc," it said, adding that it expects the review to complete in the second half of 2017.
Jimmy Choo said Britain's Takeover Panel has agreed that any talks with third parties can be conducted within the context of a "formal sale process". That enables talks with interested parties to take place on a confidential basis.
The firm said it is currently not in receipt of any approaches. The sale process will be run by BofA Merrill Lynch and Citigroup.
(Additional reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Kate Holton and Keith Weir)