Dr. Martens set to kick off IPO season with London listing

Abhinav Ramnarayan and Carolyn Cohn
·2-min read
Boxes of Dr. Martens shoes are pictured in the warehouse of local footwear retailer "Pomp It Up" in Bussigny

By Abhinav Ramnarayan and Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) - Classic British boot brand Dr. Martens announced its intention to pursue a London stock market listing on Monday, kicking off what is expected to be a brisk start to the year for European initial public offerings (IPOs) after a pandemic-disrupted 2020.

Private equity owner Permira will sell part of its stake in the IPO, alongside other existing shareholders, Dr. Martens said in a statement, with a source close to the transaction saying the deal could value the firm at more than 2 billion pounds ($2.70 billion).

Permira bought Dr. Martens, known for its yellow stitching and a youth culture staple, in 2014 for 380 million euros ($463.26 million).

The boot maker was founded in 1947 and had revenues of 672 million pounds in the year ended March 31, 2020, a company statement said.

No new shares will be issued as part of the IPO, which would give the company a free float of at least 25%, it added.

The announcement comes with Britain back in lockdown to stem the rapid spread of a new variant of the coronavirus and after the pandemic pushed most of the world into a recession in 2020.

Markets have remained resilient, however, with investors confident that vaccination programmes and fiscal stimulus will get the global economy back in gear later this year.

"Markets have continued their performance from last year... which means that this will be the first of a significant number of IPO announcements. The pipeline is very full," said a second source close to the Dr. Martens deal.

"Companies that have profited from the current environment or have a high degree of resilience to it have a good deal available to them," he added.

World stocks have risen around 3% so far this year, while Britain's FTSE 100 is up 6%.

Companies such as AUTO1 and About You in Germany, Polish postal service InPost and tech firms Darktrace and Deliveroo in Britain are all believed to be planning listings in early 2021.

Since taking control of Dr. Martens, Permira has expanded the firm's global presence, reporting an average 20% to 30% percent revenue growth in recent years.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are joint global co-ordinators for the offering, and Barclays, HSBC, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and RBC Europe are joint bookrunners. Lazard is financial adviser.

($1 = 0.8203 euros)

($1 = 0.7410 pounds)

This story corrects name of IPO candidate mentioned in paragraph 11 to About You (not owner Otto Group)

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Rachel Armstrong, Kirsten Donovan)