Superdry, the British fashion retailer, experienced a surge of more than 100% in its shares on Friday, following the confirmation that its co-founder and CEO, Julian Dunkerton, is considering taking the company private. This announcement comes amidst a recent slump in sales and a decline in share prices, leading to speculation that Superdry may become a target for takeover.

Speculation surrounding a potential takeover of the struggling fashion retailer reached new heights when it was revealed that Norwegian hedge fund First Seagull had acquired a significant 5.3% stake in the company, making it the second-largest shareholder after Dunkerton. This development further fueled the belief that a takeover may be on the horizon.

On Friday, Superdry released a market update confirming Dunkerton’s request to “explore the possibility of making an offer for the company” and enter into discussions with potential financial backers. These discussions are currently in the preliminary stage, and no decisions have been made yet.

Julian Dunkerton co-founded Superdry in 2003 as a small market stall in Cheltenham, England. Over the years, it expanded to become one of the largest high street fashion retailers in the United Kingdom. In January 2018, Superdry’s share price reached a peak above £20 ($25.52) per share. However, a disagreement over the company’s commercial direction led Dunkerton to leave the business. He eventually returned to the helm after a boardroom coup the following year.

Despite Dunkerton’s return, Superdry’s share price has persistently declined, primarily due to the adverse impacts of the U.K.’s cost-of-living crisis on the retailer. With the share price closing at just over 21 pence per share at the end of Thursday’s trade, it is evident that the company has faced significant challenges in recent times.

According to the U.K. Takeover Panel’s regulations, Dunkerton has until March 1 to submit an offer or withdraw any intentions of a takeover. As the deadline nears, the fashion industry and investors alike eagerly await Dunkerton’s decision and the potential implications it may have for Superdry’s future.

The possibility of a takeover by Julian Dunkerton has ignited a surge in Superdry’s share price, offering a glimmer of hope for a company struggling in the face of a declining market. As Dunkerton explores potential financial backers and weighs his options, the future of Superdry hangs in the balance. Investors and industry analysts eagerly anticipate the outcome, hoping for a resurgence of the British fashion retailer that once enjoyed significant success on the high street.


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