Ben Sherman owner joins bidding for Hunter Boot - report
Hunter Boot may have struggled in the wake of the pandemic, but the company and its brand seem to be in demand with new names reportedly having joined the race to buy it.
It's already been reported that Authentic Brands Group is interested, but now it seems that Marquee Brands, WHP Global and China's Baozun are eyeing the business that’s one of the few to hold two coveted royal warrants.
Marquee Brands is the owner of Ben Sherman, while WHP Global owns Toys "R" Us. Meanwhile Baozun is a digital commerce specialist that operates the Gap brand in Greater China.
Their involvement was revealed by Sky News, referencing “City sources”. It was also Sky that had earlier revealed Authentic's interest in the company. Neither Hunter nor any of the prospective bidders have commented, however.
Best known for its premium rain boots that are often seen on the feet of celebrities and influencers at festivals such as Glastonbury, it was heavily impacted by the pandemic as festivals and other events were cancelled.
This was a huge disappointment, given that the company had reported a return to profit just ahead of the onset of the Covid crisis.
It secured a rescue deal in summer 2020 when existing shareholder Pall Mall Legacy — supported by other minority shareholders, including Pentland — pumped £16.5 million into the business to keep it going through the Covid period. The deal also meant it would have access to an additional £18.5 million of capital to support future growth.
But despite reporting some progress post-pandemic, the company still faced challenges and the ongoing Covid crisis in China – which has been one of its key markets – will have been a problem. It sought new funding late last year and early this year, as well as putting itself up for sale.
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