Shares in struggling Superdry slump to all-time low as Dunkerton drops plans to buy business

Julian Dunkerton

Shares in clothing firm Superdry have plunged to an all-time low after its founder announced he was walking away from a deal to take the business into private hands.

Julian Dunkerton announced last Thursday  after the market had closed that he had ended negotiations on a deal which would have seen him buy the Cheltenham company with the backing of investors.

And the market reaction to the update which was shared on Thursday evening, before the extended Easter break, made bleak reading for the business.

Co-founder and chief executive Julian Dunkerton had been in talks with US investors about potentially buying the business and taking it private.

The talks, which have been going on for two months, have now been called off.

And shares in the firm tumbled by nearly 50% on Tuesday morning to lows of around 13p per share.

It is the lowest price since the company began trading on the London Stock Exchange in 2010.

Superdry said on Thursday that a takeover offer was “unlikely to deliver an outcome for shareholders” amid work taking place to revive the business and save money.

The business, which employs around 3,350 people globally and runs 216 shops alongside franchised stores, has been looking at various ways to cut costs to secure its future on Britain’s high streets.

It followed a year the company described as “exceptionally challenging” as sales weakened and losses deepened.

Mr Dunkerton returned to lead the retailer in 2019 after a boardroom battle which saw him criticise the previous management.

Stockbroker AJ Bell gave a damning assessment of the current state of the business.

Russ Mould from AJ Bell said: “Investors finally had a chance to price in a barrage of bad news from Superdry which was released after the market close last Thursday. The share price slumped by 47% which implies disaster.

“Julian Dunkerton has withdrawn his attempt to take the troubled retailer private which means Superdry now faces the prospect of having to conduct a heavily discounted fundraising to stay alive, conditional on delisting the group from the stock market.

“It has secured additional borrowing facilities that come with a chunky interest rate but that’s only going to be a small plaster on a big wound – not enough to save the day.

“Investors now appear to be dumping the stock to get back anything they can, even if it means crystalising a loss. In the absence of someone else throwing their hat in the ring and trying to buy the business, we can probably wave goodbye to Superdry as a listed entity.”





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