Investment bank Goldman Sachs was brought in by the bootmaker’s owner, Singapore-based L Catterton Asia, to shop around the luxurious brand ahead of a potential sale towards the end of the year, The Australian Financial Review reported.
The boots, famously branded as being made in Adelaide’s northern suburb Prospect, have outgrown their roots in rural towns and are a common accessory in Australian cities and overseas.
RM Williams has about 50 storefronts across the country as well as in New York, London and Scandinavia.
A 49.9 per cent stake was bought in the company by L Catterton in 2013, which helped the iconic Australian brand grow its presence across the world and steadily lift sales.
That international business and the superannuation fund IFM Investors bought full control of RM Williams in 2014.
Last financial year, the bootmaker’s sales revenue was $142 million.
L Catterton is a private equity investor backed by LVMH Moët Hennessy, which is behind powerhouse brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and, of course, Moët Hennessy champagne.
Although the company is already owned by a foreign entity, RM Williams has kept its workforce inside the country because the brand relies heavily on the Australian image and craftsmanship, Queensland University of Technology retail expert Gary Mortimer said.
“As long as production stays at its point of production then there will be no issue around selling off the brand,” he told news.com.au.
“It still needs to remain an Aussie brand, that’s its iconic value in the same way that Vegemite has always been the iconic Australian sandwich spread despite being owned by Kraft for many years and only recently coming back to Bega.”
The company’s owners are wanting to sell RM Williams for between $400 million and $500 million.
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