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Jul 24, 2020
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Dr. Martens owner Permira joins suitors for Gymshark stake

Jul 24, 2020

The owner of Dr. Martens has entered the bidding war for a minority stake in fast-growing sportswear brand Gymshark, joining the group of private equity firms that have been circling the business.


Permira, which has owned Dr. Martens since 2014, also backs popular dress label Reformation and Swedish fintech startup Klarna.

According to Sky News, Permira has recently made a bid for a stake in Gymshark. American growth equity firm General Atlantic Partners, which has investments in Sezanne and Depop, and TSG Partners, whose portfolio includes Revolve and Huda Beauty, are among the other suitors alongside L Catterton and Inflexion Private Equity.

Gymshark founder Ben Francis is thought to be looking for a partner to acquire a 20% stake in his activewear company. Made popular via social media endorsements, Gymshark is one of the UK’s fastest-growing fashion brands with revenues surging to £176 million in the year to July 2019.

The imminent stake sale has attracted plenty of interest in a rare example of private equity firms looking to invest in a fashion brand following the coronavirus crisis. But while other fashion retailers are struggling, Gymshark is thriving, supported by its focus on comfortable activewear and wellbeing.

The company hit a £500 million valuation in April last year, and sources have said Ben Francis is thinking of a valuation of around £1 billion. 

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