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Hollywood star Hugh Jackman will pocket $10 million after mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest bought iconic Australian bootmaker RM Williams.
Dr Forrest’s investment fund Tattarang bought 100 per cent of the company, which includes minority shareholders such as Jackman, who owned five per cent.
It is understood the sale price was $190 million, which was less than half of the original asking price.
RM Williams had been up for sale for almost 18 months after its Louis Vuitton owned parent company, L Catteron, began seeking buyers.
The Western Australian-based mining magnate said he was proud and humbled that the iconic brand was back in Australian hands.
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola (pictured together) say they’re proud and humbled iconic boot brand RM Williams is back under Australian ownership
‘R.M. Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship,’ Dr Forrest said in a statement.
‘By bringing R.M. Williams back into Australian hands, we will ensure the Australian craftmanship continues to be loved and worn all around the world.’
‘I’ve never forgotten the first time I pulled on a pair of RMs. To wear RMs is to wear the boots of the countless hard-working Australians that have come before us.’
His wife Nicola Forrest added ‘Andrew and I want to continue the legacy of this great company, and that means continuing to employ and support the Australians that have built and grown the brand.
Actor Hugh Jackman (pictured with Deborra-lee Furness) pocket $10million from the sale RM Williams but will remain involved in iconic Australian brand as an ambassador
RM Williams chief executive Raju Vuppalapati said he hoped the business would grow under Dr Forrest’s ownership.
‘The RM Williams team and I look forward to Andrew and Nicola’s stewardship as we enter the next exciting phase of surprising and delighting our consumers with hand-crafted products made in Australia,’ he said.
RM Williams was founded in Adelaide in 1932 by bushman and entrepreneur Reginald Murray ‘RM’ Williams.
The company’s iconic boots are a popular item both locally and overseas, and the brand has stores in New York, London, New Zealand and Scandinavia.
Most of RM Williams’ 900 employees are based in Australia, including 400 at its workshop in Salisbury, Adelaide.
RM Williams boots are Australian footwear. Pictured are Scott Morrison’s pair while touring regional Queensland shortly after he became Prime Minister in 2018
Most of RM Williams’ 900 staff are based in Australia. Pictured is a RM Williams store in Canberra
Jackman will remain involved with RM Williams as an ambassador.
He bought his stake in the firm in 2015, setting him up for a lucrative return when the business was sold to L Catterton for $110million in 2014.
L Catterton bought a 49.9 per cent stake in the company from former News Corp boss Ken Cowley before it took control of the company together with superannuation fund IFM Investors in 2014.
L Catterton is backed by LVMH Moet Hennessy, a French luxury goods business that owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Moet Henessy champagne.