Superdry in Talks with US Investor to Go Private, Reports Say

Superdry, the British fashion retailer, is reportedly in talks with a US investor, Davidson Kempner, to take the company private, according to media reports. The talks are said to be at an early stage, and there is no certainty that a deal will be reached. Superdry’s founder and CEO, Julian Dunkerton, who owns nearly 30% of the company, is believed to be leading the discussions, as he seeks to revive the struggling brand. In this article, we will look at the reasons and implications of the possible buyout, and the challenges and opportunities that Superdry faces.

The Reasons: A Turbulent and Challenging Period

The possible buyout comes after a turbulent and challenging period for Superdry, which has seen its sales and profits decline sharply in recent years, amid fierce competition, changing consumer preferences, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Superdry, which was founded in 2003, and became known for its casual and sporty clothing, featuring Japanese-inspired graphics and slogans, has struggled to adapt to the shifting trends and tastes of the fashion market, and has lost its appeal and relevance among its core customers.


Superdry has also faced internal turmoil and leadership changes, as Dunkerton, who stepped down as CEO in 2018, returned to the helm in 2019, following a boardroom coup, and launched a turnaround strategy, aimed at restoring the brand’s identity, quality, and innovation. However, the strategy has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced the closure of many of Superdry’s stores, and disrupted its supply chain and operations. The pandemic has also accelerated the shift to online shopping, which has exposed Superdry’s weakness in its digital and e-commerce capabilities.

As a result, Superdry’s financial performance has deteriorated significantly, as the company reported a 23.5% drop in revenue, and a 166.9 million pound loss, in the first half of its 2023 financial year, which ended on October 28, 2023. The company also warned that it faced “material uncertainty” over its ability to continue as a going concern, and that it needed to secure additional funding or renegotiate its debt covenants, to avoid breaching its borrowing limits.

The Implications: A Potential and Controversial Solution

The possible buyout could offer a potential and controversial solution for Superdry, as it could provide the company with the financial and operational stability, and the strategic and managerial flexibility, that it needs to execute its turnaround plan, and to overcome its current difficulties. The buyout could also enable Superdry to avoid the scrutiny and pressure of the public markets, and to focus on its long-term vision and goals, rather than on its short-term results and expectations.

However, the possible buyout could also entail some risks and challenges, as it could face opposition and resistance from some of Superdry’s shareholders, who may not agree with Dunkerton’s vision and direction, or who may demand a higher price for their shares. The buyout could also require the approval and support of Superdry’s lenders, suppliers, and regulators, who may have some concerns or conditions regarding the deal. Moreover, the buyout could also raise some questions and doubts about Superdry’s future prospects and potential, as it could signal a lack of confidence and optimism in the company’s ability to recover and grow as a public company.

A Complex and Uncertain Situation

The reported talks between Superdry and Davidson Kempner, a US investor that has backed several UK retailers, such as Oak Furnitureland and JoJo Maman Bebe, indicate a complex and uncertain situation for Superdry, which is facing a possible buyout, amid a turbulent and challenging period. The possible buyout could offer some benefits and opportunities for Superdry, as it could provide the company with the resources and the freedom that it needs to implement its turnaround strategy, and to revive its brand and business. However, the possible buyout could also pose some drawbacks and difficulties for Superdry, as it could encounter some hurdles and objections from its stakeholders, and as it could cast some shadows and doubts over its future viability and value.

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