LVMH has acquired a 49.9 per cent stake in R.W. Williams through an investment deal aimed at helping the Australian business to expand overseas.
R.M. Williams, which sells high-end Australian bushwear such as boots and shirts, has been backed by LVMH, the group behind investments in The Business of Fashion and UK cosmetics company Nude Skincare.
The deal has been made through L Capital Asia, a private equity fund sponsored by LVMH.
R.M. Williams was founded in 1932 by bushman Reginald Murray and has since grown its retail store count to 63. Its two locations outside of Australia are a flagship location on London’s New Bond Street and New York.
Through the deal, Ken Cowley, R.M. Williams owner and chairman will be retaining a majority shareholding in the business having assumed sole ownership and privatised the company in 2003.
Cowley comments, ‘In the past 10 years the board and management have worked intelligently and diligently in delivering the resurgence of the R.M. Williams brand.
‘Partnering with L Capital, which is sponsored by one of the globe’s most prestigious and revered brand companies, LVMH, will allow the R.M. Williams name to reach its full potential.’
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 2012 it acquired a 50 per cent stake in upmarket Australian food store Jones the Grocer.
LVMH is a French luxury goods conglomerate based in Paris. The group was formed in 1987 through the merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy and controls some 60 subsidiaries.
Cowley adds, ‘We are committed to the R.M. Williams legacy and are ensuring the future growth of this company by aligning with L Capital, which is sponsored by one of the globe’s most authoritative luxury groups. LVMH.’