Mining mogul Andrew Forrest has brought iconic boot brand RM Williams back to Australian shores after a $ 190 million acquisition that will see Hollywood superstar Hugh Jackman pocket $ 10 million
The news, which had been heavily publicized in recent weeks, was announced Monday by Dr Forrest’s investment fund Tattarang and the Fortescue founder and multi-billionaire said he and his wife, Nicola, were » incredibly proud and humble « to now own the brand
« The fact that this great Australian, Reginald Murray Williams, started this fantastic organization, employed so many people, was always a little embarrassing, and then it had to pass into overseas hands, » he said. he declares
« I’m so glad he’s back now, and I have to say the [Forrest] family has a big lump in their throats about RM Williams returning to Australia »
RM Williams had been on sale since May last year after its parent company, Louis Vuitton-associated private equity firm L Catterton, began seeking buyers for the company at an asking price of 400 to 500 million dollars
Various parties around the world have expressed interest in the brand, but Dr Forrest’s Tattarang became the winning bidder after TPG Capital’s withdrawal earlier this month
It is understood that Tattarang paid around $ 190 million for RM Williams, well below the price initially asked by L Catterton, but still above the $ 110 million he paid for the company in 2014 RM Williams reported earnings of $ 23 million in 2019, and the acquisition values the company at around 9x earnings
Tattarang bought 100% of the company, buying out minority shareholders such as Jackman, who owned around 5% of the company and will receive around $ 10 million from the sale Jackman will remain a brand ambassador, as he has been doing it since 2015
RM Williams CEO Raju Vuppalapati said he was proud of the progress L Catterton has made in expanding the brand since its acquisition six years ago and he hoped to continue that growth under Dr Forrest’s leadership.
Hugh Jackman, who plays fictional superhero Wolverine, will bring home a nice sum from the sale of the businessCredit: FDC
« The team at RM Williams and I look forward to leadership from Andrew and Nicola as we enter the exciting next phase of surprising and delighting our consumers with artisanal products made in Australia, » he said. he declared
Since the purchase of L Catterton in 2014, RM Williams’ growth has mainly focused on the international and youth market, with the company creating a demographic target of “boot boys and boot girls”: Australians younger and fashion-savvy looking for sustainable products
This has sparked the ire of some boot traditionalists, who believe the company has diverged from its quality-oriented roots and reduced the durability of its famous work boots.
However, while Tattarang’s goal will remain to grow the brand in these markets, it is committed to continuing to manufacture boots in Australia. He will also look to increase the company’s online presence given the digital boom caused by COVID-19
This takeover will also help Dr Forrest’s investment vehicle build its portfolio outside of the metals, energy and agriculture sectors where the majority of its investments are now located, as the fund seeks to continue to develop its “lifestyle” segment
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Andrew Forrest, Australia, Hugh Jackman
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