Board “minded to recommend” offer for listed shoe company

Hotter shoes factory, part of Unbound PLC

Unbound is in takeover talks with WoolOvers Group and has given their potential suitors until 25 April to come up with an offer. 

In a statement to the stock market this morning Unbound shareholders were told they would receive 10.5 pence in cash and 1 contingent value right per Unbound share, valuing the business at a premium of approximately 162.5% to the Unbound closing share price of 4p per share yesterday (27 March 2023).

The board of Skelmersdale headquartered Unbound has said it is “minded to recommend an offer” by WoolOvers Group should a firm intention to make an offer for Unbound be made.

WoolOvers is a British lifestyle brand from Burgess Hill in West Sussex which has been designing and selling natural knitwear since 1989, it is ultimately owned by Danish private equity fund Verdane, which typically backs tech-enabled businesses in northern Europe. 

It is understood the offer is for the whole of the share capital of Unbound and the business would delist from the AIM junior market as a result and revert to private ownership.

Unbound is best known for its Hotter Shoes brand, which are made in a site in the West Lancashire town. 

The strategy is to build Unbound as the parent company, selling a range of brands focused on the over 55 age demographic, and building on “the solid foundation” of Hotter, its current main business. The group aims to expand beyond footwear and will feature third-party complementary brands.

It has not been a happy experience for the business since Unbound floated on the stock market in 2021 when parent company Electra Private Equity demerged its hospitality brand, TGI Fridays, leaving Hotter Shoes as its sole brand which it then launched as a fashion portal on AIM as Unbound Group PLC.

Last year reported that Unbound raised around £4.3m through a conditional placing, subscription offer and open offer.

In a trading update in February the company reported “challenging” trading conditions blaming several external factors, including the extended period of hot weather, the impact of Royal Mail industrial action and broader economic conditions.

The share price traded at a high of 38.2p in April 2022, diving to 13p over summer last year and slowly dropping to a low of 4p this week.

In a recent trading statement the business said full year revenue is expected to be £53-£54m and small EBITDA loss of £0.75-£1.25m and adjusted pre-tax loss of £4.25-£4.75m.


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