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Dr. Martens encouraged to strategically review

Chloe Burney
03 April 2024

Marathon Partners Equity Management, one of the 30 largest investors in Dr. Martens, is urging the British boot makers to hire bankers to commence a strategic review that could lead to a sale of the company.

The New York-based investment firm argued, in a letter seen by Reuters, that Dr. Martens' stalled earnings and share price drop, by 83% since its public listing in 2021, is diminishing its value.

Dr. Martens was bought by private equity firm Permira in 2014 and was listed publicly again in 2021. Permira still owns roughly 38.5% of the company. Marathon Partners is an investment firm that owns roughly 5 million shares, making it one of the 30 largest investors in Dr. Martens. The company’s shares closed at 87.75 pence on Monday.

In a letter addressed to Dr. Martens board chairman Paul Mason last month, Mario Cibelli, Marathon Partners' managing member, wrote: "Maintaining Dr. Martens as an independent publicly traded company is likely no longer in the best interests of shareholders."

The footwear brand would produce higher earnings as a private company or as part of a multi-brand holding company. A strategic buyer "could add further scale to operations, create new synergies and eliminate unnecessary overhead," the letter added.

While the company has a current market value of about £880 million ($1.1 billion), the brand could attract potential buyers who might be willing to spend at least £1.5 billion ($2 billion).

Cibelli argued that Permira should "support a strategic alternative process to maximise shareholder value for a company that has effectively become stranded and orphaned in the public markets."

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