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.
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.