Jan 25, 2021
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Dr Martens IPO could value it at £3.5 billion

Jan 25, 2021

Dr Martens is getting ready to step up into fashion’s big league. The UK footwear brand is expected to launch a stock market listing today (Monday) worth a potential £3.5 billion.

Dr Martens

Such a massive influx of funds is likely to propel the footwear brand onto a truly global stage, with analysts expecting major expansion, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

The company was bought by private equity investment group Permira just seven years ago for £300 million. The founding Griggs family still owns a near-10% stake is the business which means Permira’s equity could be worth about £2.6bn.

The brand has boomed under its ownership. Sales have rocketed from £160 million in 2013 to £672 million in the year to March 2020. It now sells 11m pairs of shoes and boots a year across more than 60 countries. Although distribution is mostly through wholesalers, some 34% is sold through its 130 stores or online.

Despite the pandemic, sales still rose 18% to £318 million in the six months to September while profits grew 30% to £86.3 million.

Best known for its lace-up boots with chunky soles and distinctive stitching, the brand is a niche fashion favourite with a strong social media following.

Dr Martens began as a collaboration between a small shoe factory in Northamptonshire and two doctors in Munich, one of whom, Dr Klaus Märtens had developed an air-cushioned chunky sole in 1947. Although the boots grew in popularity after being adopted by skinheads in the 1960s, then punks and goths in the 1970s before entering mainstream fashion, the company narrowly avoided going bust in 2003 after being slow to outsource production.

It was given fresh impetus by fashion industry veteran David Suddens before the Griggs family sold to Permira.

If the float is successful, it should result in a £350m payout for 22 senior staff, with the CEO Kenny Wilson in line for a stake worth £58 million. Chairman Paul Mason, who was appointed in 2015 having chaired the troubled fashion retailer New Look for Permira, will also receive a multimillion-pound windfall.

A group of former Dr Martens staff will receive shares worth £150m between them, while about 2,200 more junior employees are expected to get cash bonuses.

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