Iconic homegrown brand – R.M. Williams – has returned to being Australian-owned after its latest acquisition from LVMH Group by the investment company owned by billionaire mining magnate Dr Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola.
Founded in 1932 by Reginald Murray Williams, the premium bootmaker and clothing company has spent the better part of a century becoming practically synonymous with Australia (among other things). To the point where one of the country’s other top exports – Hugh Jackman – became its global brand ambassador with a 5% stake.
In April of 2013, it sold a 49.9% stake to the LVMH Group-affiliated private equity, L Capital. And earlier this year, it was confirmed that LVMH’s L Catterton held an 82% majority interest. But no longer.
“Nicola and I are incredibly proud and humbled to be able to bring R.M. Williams back under Australian ownership,” says Dr Forrest.
“RM Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship… Everything about the great Australia character you can see depicted in a pair of boots and know that it was made right here in Australia.”
“It’s such a great Australian company, high-quality products, beautiful boots that people wear in the country and the city, you can wear them anywhere,” says Nicola Forrest.
“We just saw a fantastic brand, a great Australian product, a legacy for the country and it just needed to be Australian – it just had to come back home,” says Dr Forrest.
The entire deal is reportedly valued at close to $200 million – and will continue to employ a total of 400 people at its Salisbury, Adelaide workshop; as well as another 500 across the entire country.