Poised to make offer: Julian Dunkerton, with wife Jade
Superdry shares more than doubled after its founder said he was in talks to buy the fashion brand.
Julian Dunkerton showed his hand amid speculation that hedge funds could be planning to swoop on the company he set up more than 20 years ago.
Shares started rising yesterday morning after Norwegian investment group First Seagull bought a 5.3 per cent stake.
This triggered talk that it was plotting a bid for a company that has been laid low by a string of profit warnings and a dramatic slump in its share price.
Superdry then revealed Dunkerton himself has started ‘exploring the possibility of making an offer for the company’.
Shares closed up 118.2 per cent, or 25p, to 46.15p.
Dukerton, 58, is in discussions with companies that could potentially fund a deal. He owns 20 per cent of the business, after helping to set it up as a market stall in Cheltenham in 2003.
But Superdry said talks were at an early stage and no decisions had been made.
Dunkerton, who is married to fashion designer Jade Holland Cooper, has until March 1 to either make an offer or walk away from the process.
Businesses who could potentially finance a bid include the Ted Baker owner Authentic Brands and High Street stalwart Next, which has bought struggling retailers such as Joules and FatFace in recent years.
It has also been speculated that Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm which used to own luxury brand Kurt Geiger, may throw its hat into the ring.
Despite the share price rally yesterday, the stock is still down 98 per cent since its 2018 peak and more than 60 per cent in the past 12 months. At its height, the company was valued at £1.6billion.
But Superdry has been struggling in recent years and is worth just £45m.
After leaving the company in 2018, Dunkerton returned as boss in a boardroom showdown one year later, unhappy with Superdry’s performance.
Sophie Lund-Yates, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said new owners could ‘inject some life’ into the retailer.