It looks like Dr Martens will be under new ownership soon with American private equity giant Carlyle set to win the race to acquire it.
Dr Martens is currently owned by UK-based investment firm Permira and it’s unclear how much Carlyle is paying (there had been speculation of a price tag close to £1 billion). Reports at the weekend said Carlyle would be paying “more than £300 million”. That’s a given really as Permira paid around £300 million for the brand in 2014. How much more Carlyle is paying though is unknown.
There had been talk last year that the company might opt for a stock market flotation, although it seems certain that this is now off the table.
Permira has overseen fast growth for the company in recent years and that growth has been impressive. In the latest period for which we have seen the accounts (the 12 months to March 31 last year), the company’s revenue had risen 30% to £454.4 million and its profit on an EBITDA basis leapt by as much as 70% to £85 million. There have been reports that Permira told potential bidders the company should be able to double its underlying earnings in the current 12 months.
This growth has been helped by the increasing cool factor that surrounds the brand as it has expanded its reach to new consumers and appealed widely across the age groups and to both men and women. It has also launched some interesting collaborations, most recently (last month) with Hello Kitty and with Raf Simons for the 60th anniversary celebration of its Original 1460 boots.
Permira meanwhile is continuing to show its interest in both the fashion sector and the footwear category. The company has recently become the owner of hot brand Golden Goose, buying it, interestingly, from soon-to-be Dr Martens owner Carlyle.
Of course, Dr Martens isn’t a done deal yet and with none of the parties involved commenting, we’ll just have to wait and see on price, timing and future plans.