RM Williams acquired by Twiggy Forrest's family fund

RM Williams acquired by Twiggy Forrest's family fund

Bootmaker RM Williams is back under Australian ownership after six years under the control of L Catterton, a US-headquartered private equity firm connected to Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH).

The Adelaide-based company has been purchased by Tattarang, an investment group owned by mining magnate Dr Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest and his wife Nicola. 

The Australian Financial Review reports the deal was worth $190 million, but the parties involved in the transaction are yet to confirm the sum.

A spokesperson for Tattarang did however confirm that the group now owns 100 per cent of the Australian icon, meaning it also purchased minority stakes from IFM Investors and actor Hugh Jackman of 13 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. 

"Nicola and I are incredibly proud and humbled to be able to bring RM Williams back under Australian ownership. RM Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship," Andrew Forrest said yesterday. 

"By bringing RM Williams back into Australian hands, we will ensure the Australian craftmanship continues to be loved and worn all around the world," Nicola Forrest added. 

She said the couple looked forward to meeting and supporting the RM Williams' team, with most of the 900 employees based in Australia, including 400 team members at its workshop in Salisbury, Adelaide.

"Andrew and I want to continue the legacy of this great company, and that means continuing to employ and support the Australians that have built and grown the brand," she said.

The shoe company's CEO Raju Vuppalapati said he was incredibly proud of the journey with RM Williams and L Catterton.

"I am delighted with the success we had with re-positioning the brand and delivering significant growth. RM Williams' brand is the strongest it has ever been in its 88-year history," he said.

"Our 2019 decision to invest in the second boot line, recruiting and training 100 additional employees in our Salisbury workshop, was an important milestone to enable us to continue the growth momentum.

"The RM Williams team and I look forward to Andrew and Nicola's stewardship as we enter the next exciting phase of surprising and delighting our consumers with hand-crafted products made in Australia."

Photo: Nicola and Andrew Forrest. Credit: Hugh Brown

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