May 15, 2023
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Authentic 'in pole position' to buy Hunter

May 15, 2023

A year on from being the preferred bidder for fashion lifestyle retailer Ted Baker, Authentic Brands Group is back in the same position to buy another UK fashion brand — Hunter.

Hunter Boot

The US company, which subsequently bought Ted Baker for £210 million last autumn and also has a stake in David Beckham's branded products portfolio, has moved into lead position in the race to buy Hunter Boot, the royal warrant-holding footwear brand, reported Sky News.

The sale process, which has been running for more than two months, is nearing a conclusion. One source suggested a deal could value the business at as much as £100 million — well above previous expectations.

China's BaoZun, a digital commerce group that owns Gap's operations in Greater China, Marquee Brands and WHP Global also remains interested in a deal if the talks with ABG falter, the source added.

In March, Hunter Boot secured a multi-million-pound funding lifeline, with existing shareholders injecting £5 million into the business and lenders contributing a further £2 million.

Hunter has been working with advisers at AlixPartners on the auction.

The company was last saved in 2020 through a £16.5 million capital injection, part of which came from Pall Mall Legacy, a fund backed by Goldman Sachs.

Pall Mall Legacy owns the majority of Hunter's shares, with Searchlight Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and Pentland Group, the apparel giant behind, holding the remainder.

The company was historically dominated by sales of Wellington boots and became a favourite footwear-of-choice for music festivals. However, the pandemic severely hit demand and sales despite diversifying into a broader array of lifestyle products.

A spokesman for Hunter declined to comment, while Authentic couldn’t be reached for comment.

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