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Authentic Brands Nearing Deal to Buy Hunter Boots

Authentic Brands Group continues to kick the tires at the Kate Middleton-approved Hunter Boots.

The brand management firm’s interest in financially challenged Hunter surfaced in March, although at the time Authentic executives declined to comment on the status of discussions. Since then, talks between the company and Authentic have intensified, sources said. Though Authentic has confirmed that it’s pursuing Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Reebok owner on Tuesday declined to comment on where those talks currently stand.

According to SkyNews on Monday, the New York brand manager has been christened as the boot maker’s preferred bidder in a deal that could be valued at 100 million pounds ($124.8 million). China’s BaoZun—the digital commerce firm that bought Gap’s Greater China business for $40 million—could be the back-up buyer should Authentic and Hunter’s talks break down.

Authentic isn’t afraid to walk away from negotiations only to return when terms turn in its favor. That’s what happened when it pursued Ted Baker, purchasing the British brand $254 million after five months of back-and-forth.

Should a Hunter deal materialize, the brand would expand Authentic’s growing interest in British brands as it looks to broaden its overseas portfolio. Beyond Ted Baker, Authentic also co-owns and manages the labels in DB Ventures, which is controlled by former English soccer star David Beckham and his designer wife Victoria Beckham. The DB Ventures deal also made the famous footballer an Authentic shareholder and executive in the company’s entertainment division.

In the footwear business for 167 years, Hunter is best known for making the iconic Wellington Boot since 1956. It now sells weatherproof outerwear and gear as well.

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The brand, which supplies services to the royal court, holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment—considered a mark of prestige— from the late Queen Elizabeth and the late Duke of Edinburgh. Newly crowned King Charles III might put existing warrants up for review, however.

Goldmans Sachs-backed Pall Mall Legacy has owned a controlling stake in Hunter since 2020. Other stakeholders include Searchlight Capital Partners and Pentland Group.