Designer Tory Burch’s long and nasty legal battle with her ex-husband got so ugly that the trial judge called it a “drunken WASP fest” in November. Now their legal skirmish is finally over, and it’s fair to say she emerged a winner: She’s now a billionaire.
Burch and her ex, Chris, had battled over whether Chris could sell his shares in the company, which the then-couple started together in 2003. They divorced in 2006, and Chris went on to found his own company, C. Wonder, which sells strikingly similar ballet flats and preppy clothes to Tory’s company. Over the course of the last year, Chris accused Tory of “tortious interference,” and Tory accused Chris of copying her Tory Burch designs. She called C. Wonder “a knockoff brand selling lower-quality products at lower prices.”
In other words, it wasn’t pretty. But it’s over now, and the settlement allowed Chris to sell about half of his 28.3% stake in the company. The sale valued the company at $3.3 billion, which makes Tory officially a billionaire. Bonus: Because they signed the deal on December 31, Tory will save millions of dollars in capital gains taxes, which rose significantly on January 1.
Tory’s company has long been rumored to be considering an IPO, but that wasn’t likely to happen while the lawsuit was ongoing. Tory denied it in November. But now that the suit is over, that becomes a real possibility. Women’s Wear Daily reported in December that investors are lining up for the company, and that they view her as “the next Michael Kors.” Here’s to that next billion!