US-based Authentic Brands Group, which last year acquired UK fashion brand Ted Baker in a deal worth GBP211m (US$253.5m), has expressed interest in a deal with Hunter, the royal warrant-holding footwear brand, according to Sky News.

An auction of the business is understood to be taking place after Hunter secured a multimillion-pound funding lifeline, with existing shareholders injecting GBP5m into the business and lenders contributing a further GBP2m.

According to Sky News, it is unclear how serious ABG is about a takeover of the British brand. Hunter is said to be working with advisers at AlixPartners on the auction.

In 2020, Hunter Boots received a capital injection of GBP16.5m, part of which came from Pall Mall Legacy, a fund backed by Goldman Sachs and Three Hills Capital Partners, an existing shareholder.

Pall Mall Legacy owns the majority of Hunter’s shares, with private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners, and Pentland Group, the sportswear giant behind brands such as Speedo, holding the remainder.

Three Hills Capital Partners declined to comment on the reports, while ABG and Hunter did not return a request for comment at the time of going to press.

In 2021, Hunter appointed a new chief executive to drive sustainable growth within the company through high-quality product and with a customer-centric and digital first approach.

Paolo Porta replaced Vincent Wauters who stepped down in July of that year. Porta had ambitious plans to reposition Hunter as “the leading iconic British outdoor lifestyle brand, bridging fashion with quality and functionality, with constant sustainable practices at the core”.