The family owners of Dr Martens are on the verge of a £300m windfall as part of a deal to sell the famous boot brand to a private equity firm. Permira, which already owns high street names including New Look and Hugo Boss, is understood to be in advanced talks with the Griggs family, owners of Dr Martens since 1960.
Sources close to the deal said it could be completed within a month and it would be the second time the company has been put up for sale in the last two years. R Griggs Group held an auction last year but failed to attract high enough bids, despite interest from major investors and businesses.
Bill Griggs took control of the business in 1960 after reading an advertisement placed by Germans looking for investment in their air-cushioned sole. Originally the boots were designed as workwear for men but the comfortable soles made them a big hit with housewives. The first Dr Martens boots in the UK came out on 1 April 1960 and were popular with uniformed workers. They soon found their way into youth subculture and have become synonymous with skinheads, mods and punks. Over 100 million pairs of Dr Martens shoes were sold between 1960 and 2010.
Profits are expected to hit £30m this year with boots, shoes and accessories sold in 63 countries across the world, a decade after the company almost went bankrupt. It was saved by moving work to China and shutting down UK factories, leading to hundreds of job losses.