LVMH-backed fund buys stake in Aussie bushwear firm R.M. Williams
SYDNEY, April 15
SYDNEY, April 15 (Reuters) - A private equity fund sponsored by French luxury brand LVMH Group has snapped up just under half of Australia's R.M. Williams in deal aimed at helping the bushwear firm expand further overseas.
The sale of the 49.9 percent holding was valued at around A$52 million ($55 million), said a source close to the deal who was not authorised to speak on the record.
Singapore-based L Capital Asia, which is also backed by Groupe Arnault, the holding company of LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault, and Malaysia's YTL Corp, specialises in developing distinctive but affordable brands in the Asia-Pacific region.
Last year it took a 50 percent stake in upmarket Australian food store Jones the Grocer.
Ken Cowley, chairman and owner of R.M. Williams, which is known for its elastic-sided boots, will retain the majority holding. He said L Capital had committed to retaining Australian manufacturing for the firm's products.
The 81-year-old Australian company has more than 50 stores around the world. The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-May and new board members announced at that time.
($1 = 0.9522 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Jane Wardell; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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