Dr Martens awaits private equity tie-up

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The Independent Online

Private equity firms have put their best foot forward and submitted first-round bids of up to £120m for Dr Martens, the British footwear brand made famous by skinheads but now favoured by a trendier crowd.

The owner of Dr Martens hired advisers at the investment bank Rothschild earlier this year and first-round bids were due last week. Private equity firm, Electra Partners, is thought to be among the suitors but others are known to be looking at the company which is run by Max Griggs whose father acquired the brand in 1960 from its German owners.

While the company hit tough times and moved its production to the Far East in 2003, Dr Martens has kicked on in recent years and now generates a large proportion of its sales overseas in more than 60 countries from the US to Japan.

A source said a key attraction for a potential buyer would be ramping up its sales in Asia and North America. Dr Martens, which returned some manufacturing to the UK in 2007, now sells boots, shoes and clothing.