Orlebar Brown men’s swim brand mulls £50 million sale
Orlebar Brown, the UK-based swimwear brand that has a catalogue of celebrity fans, is set to sell itself with a suggested price tag of £50 million, according to reports. It has been suggested that a clutch of international private equity firms could show interest with UK businesses having becoming more affordable to buy in the last year given the fall in the value of the pound.
But the 10-year-old company is more than just a bargain buy. It has been growing fast and is expected to sell up to £23 million worth of product this year as its UK business in physical stores and online does well. But its growth is also being supported by international expansion with over half of its sales happening outside of its domestic market. The company has opened stores in the US, Australia, France, Turkey and Kuwait.
Sources said that founder Adam Brown has hired Cavendish Corporate Finance to look at strategic options with analysts saying a private equity firm taking a controlling stake is the most likely result.
Former photographer Brown founded the firm when he couldn’t find tailored swimming shorts for himself that could still look good out of the pool. “Not so much a swim short but a'short you can swim in', offering something you can wear on the beach, by the pool and then smart enough to go and have a drink or lunch,” the company says of its core product offer.
It now also makes items like casual topwear, low-key trainers and boyswear, and also offers a ‘design your own’ option.
The brand has benefitted from a number of aspirational celebrities being photographed in its products, most notably Daniel Craig who was seen in a pair of its blue shorts in his role as James Bond.
Style influencers rapper Jay-Z, model David Gandy and actors Damien Lewis and Michael Fassbender have also been photographed in the brand’s products, as has David Cameron. The former UK Prime Minister may not quite qualify as a stye influencer but the brand received a major publicity boost when he was photographed in a pair of its Bulldog Rock Pool shorts (rrp £225) in its his first post-politics holiday after resigning due to the result of the EU referendum last year.
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