December 1, 2023

American fashion designer Tom Ford has been catapulted into the exclusive billionaires’ club after the sale of his luxury brand to cosmetics company Estee Lauder in a cash and debt deal worth $2.8 billion.

Mr Ford, 61, who founded the label in 2005 after leaving Gucci, will receive about $1.1 billion in cash from the sale, according to estimates by Forbes magazine.

The estimate is based on the designer’s 63.75 per cent stake in the company, according to a 2013 filing, and “he does not appear to have sold any of this stake since then”, Forbes added.

“He also owns at least two homes, including one in Holmby Hills in Los Angeles and another on New York’s Upper East Side that are worth a collective $65 million,” Forbes said.

“Altogether, Ford is now worth an estimated $1.2 billion.”

Previously, his net worth was estimated at $400 million to $500 million by Celebrity Net Worth, which tracks the wealth and finances of the rich and famous.

Outside of his fashion label, Mr Ford set up his film production company Fade to Black in 2005 and has directed a number of films, including the 2009 Oscar-nominated film A Single Man, starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.

He also directed Nocturnal Animals, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, in 2016.

In 2021, Mr Ford sold his sprawling 8,360-hectare ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for an undisclosed price after putting it on the market for $75 million five years earlier.

However, he later reduced the price to $48 million, Architectural Digest magazine reported.

The property features a wild-west town that was built for the 1985 film Silverado, which starred Kevin Kline, Danny Glover and Kevin Costner.

Tom Ford put his Andy Warhol self portrait up for auction in 2010.

The ranch has also been used as the location for several other films such as 3:10 to Yuma, Thor and All the Pretty Horses.

Mr Ford listed his upmarket Chelsea property in west London for sale in 2020 for £13.45 million ($15.97 million).

An avid art collector, Mr Ford sold an Andy Warhol self-portrait, which features the artist wearing a “fright wig”, for a record $32.6 million at a Sotheby’s auction in May 2010.

Mr Ford rose to international fame after being recruited by Bahrain-based alternative asset manager Investcorp to help turnaround Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci.

Investcorp had bought about 50 per cent of Gucci in 1988 and 1989 and then bought the remaining 50 per cent in the company from Maurizio Gucci, grandson of the founder Guccio Gucci, in 1993.

With the backing of Investcorp, he reinvented the Florentine luxury brand before going off on his own in 2005.

His company started off by making menswear but it has expanded into womenswear, eyewear, beauty and fragrances, and accessories such as watches and leather goods.

There are more than 100 stand-alone Tom Ford stores around the world, including in London, Milan, New York, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 10:42 AM


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