Business

Superdry founder woos US investor to back bid for struggling chain

A prominent US investor is among the parties being courted by Superdry’s founder as he assembles an offer to take the struggling fashion chain private.

Sky News has learnt that Davidson Kempner, which has backed a number of UK retailers, is in discussions with Julian Dunkerton about backing an offer for Superdry.

The talks are at a preliminary stage and there is no guarantee that Davidson Kempner will ultimately sign an agreement with Mr Dunkerton.

Their discussions add the US investor, which has backed Jojo Maman Bebe and Oak Furnitureland, and previously held a slug of debt in New Look, to a list of firms examining Mr Dunkerton’s proposals.

Others include Retail Realisation, a firm backed by the founder of turnaround investor Rcapital.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Mr Dunkerton wanted to buy the majority stake in Superdry that he does not already own, even as the company draws up plans to close stores and cut jobs.

Mr Dunkerton, who in 2019 returned to the company having previously been ousted, owns just under 30% of the shares.

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On Monday, shares in the retailer closed at 33.65p, giving it a market capitalisation of less than £35m.

The company also has more than £100m of borrowings, after securing funding from Bantry Bay Capital and Hilco.

In recent months, Superdry has raised cash by offloading its brand in regions including India and Asia-Pacific.

Late last year, its shares sank to a record low after it blamed abnormally mild autumn weather for weak sales.

After a trading update last month, the shares crashed to a record low.

“The consumer retail market remains challenging and unpredictable, and sales performance has not been helped by the extreme weather events of the summer being followed by one of the warmest autumn seasons on record, which persisted through the peak Christmas trading period,” Superdry said in that statement.

Davidson Kempner, Superdry and Mr Dunkerton declined to comment.

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