Authentic Takes the Lead in the Race for Hunter Boot
US-based Authentic, a company with a stake in David Beckham’s consumer goods empire and ownership of Ted Baker and Reebok, has become the preferred bidder for Hunter Boot, a renowned footwear brand holding a royal warrant.
After a sale process spanning over two months, Authentic has emerged as the frontrunner, edging closer to finalizing the acquisition. Expectations suggest that the deal could value Hunter at a substantial £100 million, surpassing previous estimates.
China’s BaoZun Remains an Interested Party
While Authentic takes the lead, China’s BaoZun, a digital commerce group that owns Gap’s operations in Greater China, continues to express interest in a potential deal.
Should negotiations with Authentic falter, BaoZun stands ready to explore opportunities with Hunter Boot. The involvement of multiple contenders further underscores the significance of the brand and its appeal within the market.
Hunter Boot’s Recent Funding Boost
In March, Hunter Boot secured a multimillion pound funding lifeline, as existing shareholders injected £5 million into the company, supplemented by an additional £2 million from lenders.
This capital injection provided a much-needed boost to the brand. With the assistance of AlixPartners as advisers, Hunter embarked on an auction process to explore potential buyers and secure its future growth.
Hunter Boot’s Resilience and Expansion
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hunter Boot experienced a post-COVID rebound in sales. The brand’s revenue growth in China played a significant role in driving its recovery. Known for its iconic Wellington boots, Hunter has successfully diversified its product offerings, expanding into various lifestyle segments.
However, the cancellation of live entertainment events and music festivals during the pandemic had a considerable impact on the brand’s performance.
Hunter Boot’s Royal Warrants and Ownership Structure
Hunter Boot holds the distinction of being one of only 10 companies to possess two royal warrants, one of which was issued by the late Queen Elizabeth II. The majority of Hunter’s shares are owned by Pall Mall Legacy, a fund backed by Goldman Sachs.
Searchlight Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and Pentland Group, the sportswear giant responsible for brands like Speedo, hold the remaining shares. As discussions progress, Hunter’s future ownership structure will be a critical factor in shaping its trajectory.