Permira tries on Dr Martens for £300m

The investment marks Permira’s first deal from its fifth fund, which has been in the market since September 2011.

UK-based buyout firm Permira will buy R Griggs Group, the parent company of British footwear brand Dr Martens, for £300 million ($485.5 million, €351.3 million), according to a statement.

Dr Martens’ merchandise is sold in 63 countries throughout the US, Asia and Europe. The brand is popular among the working class and music culture. The deal is expected to close in January 2014, according to the statement.

Barclays provided debt financing in connection with the transaction and acted as financial advisor to Permira. Rothschild acted as financial advisor to R Griggs. 

The investment marks Permira’s first investment from its fifth fund that held a first close in April on €2.2 billion. Fund V is targeting between €4 billion and €5 billion, though its initial target was closer to €6 billion. Permira began marketing the fund in September 2011 and has until April 2014 to reach its target, Private Equity International previously reported.

Dr Martens, British footwear

Permira declined to comment.

Fund V will include a general partner commitment of about €200 million. The fund has received commitments from the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and UK fund of funds manager SVG Capital, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division. 

As of Tuesday, Permira will have returned nearly half of the invested capital from its prior fund to investors. The firm will recapitalise Red & Black, the investment holding company for men’s retailer Hugo Boss.  This will be the first time Permira has returned capital from Hugo Boss to investors since it acquired the company in 2007. The fund holds a 56 percent stake in Hugo Boss. Fund IV, a 2006 vintage, raised €11.1 billion but was scaled to €9.6 billion, PEI reported.

Talks about Permira’s acquisition of Dr Martens began earlier this month, though the firm wasn’t the first private equity buyer to express interest. Electra Partners and Pamplona Capital were among bidders who failed to acquire the company a year and half ago, sources previously told PEI.

Since its founding in 1985, Permira has advised funds with a total committed capital of about €22 billion. The firm is led by 25 partners.