Wednesday, February 13, 2013
MICHAEL KORS, THE NEXT FASHION BILLIONAIRE
New York Fashion Week may be almost over, but the party is just getting started for one famous designer.
Fashion icon Michael Kors is rapidly approaching billionaire status as the stock of his eponymous company surged on Tuesday after it forecasted profit for fiscal 2013 more than double a year ago. As of noon EST, Michael Kors Holding Ltd shares had jumped more than 10 percent.
According to SEC filings, Kors owns stock and options worth more than $485 million after the surge. That number would be higher, but he has been selling stock regularly over the last year. Those sales have banked Kors a pretty nice profit, though. We estimate his cash holdings and other assets at another $460 million or more. Put together, the
designer is easily worth $950 million, perilously close to crossing the billionaire threshold. If he doesn’t sell any more, Kors would become a billionaire when his company’s stock breaks $70 a share. Based on recent growth, that may not be far away.
The longtime Project Runway judge saw his net worth soar when his fashion house debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2011, popping 25% in its first day of trading. Last year he made our list of “Billionaires in the Making” and has since added nearly $200 million to his estimated assets. The 53-year-old started his career by dropping out of the Fashion Institute of Technology to design an in-house line for a store called Lothar’s on 57th Street.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd has already minted two billionaires: Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll. Through their Hong Kong-based private equity shop Sportswear Holdings Limited, the investors purchased a controlling stake in Michael Kors LLC in 2003. Back then the company was only valued at $100 million. Today its market capitalization is north of $12.6 billion. Not a bad return on their investment.
The company now has 388 stores worldwide. Revenue rose to $636.8 million in the last three months of 2012, a 70% jump from the prior year. Same store sales in North America grew 41%. Accessories like handbags, wallets and watches are driving that growth.
Other fashion icons have become billionaires recently from their luxury brands. Tory Burch joined the club earlier this year after lawsuits that threatened IPO prospects were resolved. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and Diesel Jeans mogul Renzo Rosso also moved into 10-figure net worth territory.
Edwin Durgy contributed reporting for this story.