c.2013 New York Times News Service
c.2013 New York Times News Service
Having spent more than three decades climbing to the top of the fashion world, the designer Michael Kors could hardly be described as an overnight success.
But it has taken only 14 months, coupled with Wall Street's buoyant capital markets, for Kors to become enormously rich.
Since December 2011, when Michael Kors Holdings went public, Kors has sold about 17 million shares of stock. His latest sale of about 3 million shares came Thursday as part of the company's third secondary stock offering since its initial public offering. Kors still holds about 2.5 percent of the company, or about 4.9 million shares, down from his roughly 12 percent stake at its IPO.
All told, Kors has sold roughly $650 million worth of his company's stock and retains a roughly $300 million stake. Not bad for a Fashion Institute of Technology dropout.
Kors and his financial backers have exploited the company's strong financial performance and soaring stock price to cash out of their holdings. The company's shares have more than tripled since the IPO. Kors and the other insiders have now sold big blocks of stock at four different times, each time higher than the previous sale.
Yet last week, Michael Kors reported another excellent earnings report and the promise of continued growth. "Another stellar quarter ... Michael, you're the man!" exclaimed Randal Konik, an analyst for Jefferies, who raised his price target on the company's stock to $80 a share.
Brian J. Tunick, a JPMorgan analyst, increased his estimates, noting "the company's strong brand momentum and seasoned management team are extremely well positioned to continue gaining market share in the global accessories market." Tunick contrasted Michael Kors' strong numbers with the weak financial results posted by its rival, Coach, underscoring Michael Kors' dominance in the "affordable luxury" category.
''We believe that the Michael Kors brand is ideally positioned within the global luxury lifestyle market, and we look forward to delivering on our long-term objectives," said John D. Idol, the company's chairman and chief executive.
Yet Idol, who has run the company since 2003, has also been eagerly selling his holdings. After a sale Thursday of about 2 million shares, Idol, a longtime fashion executive who previously served in senior posts at Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, will have sold more than $400 million of shares owned by him and his family. He retains a roughly 1 percent stake in the company.
But the money raised by Kors and Idol looks modest compared with that of Michael Kors' private equity investors, Lawrence S. Stroll and Silas K.F. Chou. Stroll, a Canadian, and Chou, a Hong Kong resident, are a pair of fashion-industry tycoons who run Sportswear Holdings Ltd., which acquired the Michael Kors company in 2003 for about $100 million.
Heading into the IPO, Stroll and Chou controlled slightly more than half of Michael Kors. On Thursday, they sold about two-thirds of their remaining stake, and now own about 6 percent of the company. They have sold roughly $3 billion worth of shares over the past 14 months.
The aggressive cash-outs by Kors and his business partners have been part of the case against buying stock in Michael Kors. But so far, anyone who has resisted buying the company's stock has rued that decision. Yet with this latest round of sales, investors appear concerned. Michael Kors shares, which peaked at $65 a share Tuesday, have dropped nearly 10 percent since the share sale was announced.