Iconic Australian bootmaker R.M. Williams has been brought back to Australian ownership with its purchase from a private equity firm by Western Australian iron ore mining couple Andrew and Nicola Forrest.
The couple’s Tattarang investment arm bought the firm bought the business for a reported $190 million from the world’s largest consumer-focused private equity firm, L Catterton and minority shareholders including actor Hugh Jackman.
Tattarang, which reported profits of $23 million in 2019, will continue to make its upmarket boots and leather goods at a factory in northern Adelaide,
Founded in 1932 by bushman and entrepreneur Reginald Murray ‘R.M.’ Williams, R.M. Williams is one of Australia’s most iconic brands, and has had a number of recent owners including global luxury brand house Louis Vuitton.
Andrew Forrest said: Nicola and I are incredibly proud and humbled to be able to bring R.M. Williams back under Australian ownership.
“R.M. Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship.”
CEO of R.M. Williams CEO Raju Vuppalapati said the business enjoyed international success and growth under ownership by L Catterton.
Vuppalapati 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 R.M. 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.”
Picture: Tattarang and Hugh Brown/Andrew and Nicola Forrest
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