Clarks could (soon) become an Asian brand. The British footwear manufacturer chose to sit at the negotiating table with Hong Kong-based investment fund LionRock Capital. Objective: to begin exclusive negotiations aimed at selling to the fund the majority of the brand’s shares. The brand is said to be value at between 100 and 150 million pounds.
Just a few hours before news broke, press sources stated that Clarks’ pension administrators had started to look into ways to guarantee new investments for the struggling business.
Clarks has (for a time), looked for a partner able to inject liquidity. The Clarks family, owner of the brand for the past 195 years, had considered allowing a minority shareholder to enter, but then the brand received some offers that would have caused the family to lose ownership of the brand.
So, this deal appears to be the path chosen by the family, after having considered the other options. LionRock is known in Italy for its minority ownership of Inter Football Club. The two parties have started negotiating, wrote Reuters citing anonymous sources.
Just a few hours before the aforementioned news, an “internal” rumor had broken. According to it, Clarks’ pension trustees, who “have the responsibility of guaranteeing the safety of the brand’s pension system”, have nominated consultants to try to bring in new investments. Maybe they won’t need to.