Blackstone seeks up to W320b in exit from handbag maker IPO
Published : Aug 31, 2021 - 14:37
Updated : Aug 31, 2021 - 14:37
Michael Kors handbags in a store in Paris. (123rf)
New York-based private equity firm Blackstone is attempting to cash in on its holdings in Simone Acc Collection for up to 320.7 billion won ($275.3 million) in a partial exit involving an initial public offering, a prospectus showed Tuesday.

The IPO of luxury handbag maker Simone, which could fetch up to 400.9 billion won before its proposed October listing on the Korea Exchange‘s main board Kospi, will allow the world’s largest private equity investor to carry out an immediate exit. The prospectus also showed that Blackstone has received some 3 billion won in dividend income since 2018.

In 2015, Blackstone invested $300 million for a 30 percent stake in the family-run firm headquartered in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province.

Simone, serving clients including Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Coach, looks to float 8.37 million common shares on the stock market in an IPO in late September. Simone has included 6.7 million of Blackstone’s shares as part of the offering, with the other 1.67 million shares being newly issued ones. Samsung Securities, Mirae Asset Securities and Korea Investment & Securities are the IPO underwriters.

Each share is expected to be offered at a target price range at between 39,200 won and 47,900 won, and the offer price will be confirmed in the institutional book building process ending Sept. 27.

Once the company completes the IPO, Blackstone will remain a minority shareholder with 8.5 percent ownership -- or 2.85 million shares -- in the handbag maker. The remaining shares will be subject to a three-month lockup period after the listing.

Following the IPO, Simone founder and Chief Executive Officer Kenny Park will remain the largest shareholder with 35.3 percent ownership. Park‘s family will hold a combined 31.2 percent stake in Simone. The company will publicly trade 20 percent of its shares.

Simone will use the proceeds to build new factories and implement a vertical integration of its corporate management structure, according to the prospectus.

Simone recorded a 46.6 billion won in operating profit in 2020, down over 65 percent from the previous year.

Other than Simone, Blackstone’s Korea-focused portfolio includes medical goods wholesaler Geo Young and shopping complex Starfield Hanam.

In the meantime, the international investment firm is also looking to set up a Seoul office in the second half of this year. It withdrew from Seoul in 2014.

By Son Ji-hyoung (