Superdry shares soar more than 100% as company considers going private

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LONDON – Superdry shares surged more than 100% on Friday, as the British fashion retailer confirmed that co-founder and CEO Julian Dunkerton is considering taking it private.

The stock peaked at 48.55 pence (62 pence) per share shortly before 11am London time and was last trading at around 46 pence per share.

A recent slump in sales and falling share price has led to speculation that Superdry, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2010, could be a takeover target. The rumors intensified this week, when it emerged that Norwegian hedge fund First Seagull had taken a 5.3% stake in the company, making it the second largest shareholder behind Dunkerton, according to data LSEG.

The company confirmed in a market update on Friday that Dunkerton had “requested permission to begin exploring the possibility of making an offer for the company,” and to begin discussions with financial backers, which the business accepted.

“Julian Dunkerton has since confirmed to the Business Committee that he is engaged in discussions with potential funding partners (‘Potential Sponsors’) to discuss options in relation to the Company, which ‘could include a possible cash offer for the issued and to be issued share capital of the Company, which it does not already own,” said Superdry.

“These discussions are at an early stage and no decisions have been made.”

Dunkerton have until March 1 to submit an offer or walk away under UK Takeover Panel rules.

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Superdry’s share price performance since listing in March 2010.

Dunkerton co-founded Superdry as a market stall in Cheltenham, England, in 2003, before expanding to become one of the UK’s largest high street fashion retailers.

Superdry’s share price peaked above £20 per share in January 2018, shortly before Dunkerton left the business due to disagreements over its commercial direction.

He returned to the helm on the back of a boardroom coup the following year, but the company’s share price has generally fallen as the UK cost of living crisis hits the retailer. The stock closed trading Thursday at just over 21 cents a share.

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