Business

The American company behind brands such as Reebok and Ted Baker is among the suitors weighing bids for Hunter Boot, the royal warrant-holding footwear brand.

Sky News understands that Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which also has a stake in David Beckham’s branded products portfolio, has expressed an interest in a deal with Hunter.

It was unclear on Thursday how serious ABG was about a takeover of the British brand.

An auction of the business is taking place after Hunter Boot secured a multimillion-pound funding lifeline, with existing shareholders injecting £5m into the business and lenders contributing a further £2m.

Hunter, whose boots have often been seen adorning festival-going celebrities such as Kate Moss and the Princess of Wales, is working with advisers at AlixPartners on the auction.

The company was last saved in 2020 through a £16.5m capital injection, part of which came from Pall Mall Legacy, a fund backed by Goldman Sachs and Three Hills Capital Partners, an existing shareholder.

Pall Mall Legacy owns the majority of Hunter’s shares, with Searchlight Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and Pentland Group, the sportswear giant behind brands such as Speedo, holding the remainder.

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Hunter, which was founded in 1856 as the North British Rubber Company, has seen a post-COVID rebound in sales, with revenue in China accounting for a chunk of its recent growth.

One of Britain’s most prominent footwear brands, Hunter is one of only ten companies to hold two royal warrants – one of which was issued by Queen Elizabeth II.

The cancellation of live entertainment events and music festivals such as Glastonbury has had a particularly severe impact on Hunter, which has long-been associated with celebrities such as Ms Moss.

Hunter was historically dominated by sales of Wellington boots, but has increasingly diversified into a broader array of lifestyle products.

It has exited its retail store portfolio such as its former flagship on London’s Regent Street with the exception of a site at Bicester Village and Woodbury in New York.

A spokesman for Hunter declined to comment, while ABG did not respond to a request for comment.

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