2010 May 6
(NEW YORK) Jones Apparel Group Inc. has announced today that it will take a 55% stake in Stuart Weitzman, previously controlled by private investors, for $180 million in cash. The higher-priced footwear line (which ranges from about $150 for a pair of jelly flip flops to $1,450 for a pair of crystal-encrusted strappy sandals, with handbags running from $650 to $725 and children’s shoes running under $100) will be part of a new luxury-focused category for Jones, following the company’s acquisition of Robert Rodriguez in February. While Jones Apparel Group controls such companies as Jones New York, AK Anne Klein, Nine West, Easy Spirit, Sam & Libby, and L.E.I., Weitzman has a decidedly more high-profile brand, with celebrity fans like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Angelina Jolie and plenty of red carpet appearances (in fact, Weitzman made waves in 2002 when he created a million-dollar pair of diamond-encrusted shoes for Mulholland Drive actress Laura Harring at that year's Academy Awards). Weitzman himself, founder and chief designer of the company, will retain the other 45% of the company. Stuart Weitzman enjoyed sales of $193 million for 2009.