L Catterton Asia puts R.M. Williams up for sale
today May 16, 2019
R.M. Williams, the quintessentially Australian brand, is believed to be up for sale with a price tag between A$400 million and A$500 million (€247m to €309m). It’s controlled by private equity firm L Catterton Asia, which has appointed Goldman Sachs to seek out interested buyers and run the auction.
The company, best known for its boots, has a network of its own stores with around 50 in Australia plus more than 500 multibrand retail stockists there, as well as international locations. In March it named Hugh Jackman as its very-high-profile global ambassador.
L Catterton has been a major shareholder since 2013 when it bought a 49.9% stake from former News Corp Australia executive Ken Cowley. It took control a year later.
The company hasn’t confirmed that it’s seeking to exit the investment although Fairfax Media, which first reported the story, is confident that the sale will happen.
The brand could attract plenty of interest with sales in the latest year for which figures are available (FY2018) rising to A$142 million from A$126 million and operating profit of A$6 million, up from A$1 million.
Analysts said that global apparel companies are likely to be interested, as well as larger Australian and international private equity companies that would have the deep pockets to help the company achieve its international growth ambitions.
It has been opening more stores and stockists abroad of late and now has international flagships in Copenhagen, London, New York, Los Angeles and Auckland.
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