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Gymshark reportedly in talks over potential IPO

By Huw Hughes

Oct 13, 2021

Report

Image: Ben Francis via Gymshark

British gymwear and athleisure brand Gymshark is reportedly in talks with banks and investors over a potential IPO.

The company’s 29-year-old founder Ben Francis and his private equity backers have begun preliminary talks with institutional investors and investment banks about a flotation, Sky News reports.

It comes just a year after the brand became just the second British company since 2001 to achieve a valuation of over 1 billion pounds without any prior investment.

City sources say the brand has been “aggressively” pitched to by investment banks in recent months, and has shown interest in pursuing an IPO, probably in London.

One person close to the situation suggested an announcement could come in the next few months.

But Sky News stressed a decision to press ahead with a listing could still be some way off.

It will likely be one of the most highly anticipated British IPOs in recent years if it goes ahead.

The band has grown quickly since its launch, fuelled by influencer marketing and burgeoning consumer demand for fitness apparel and athleisure.

It now operates in more than 180 countries with an audience of over 16 million on social media and a turnover of 380 million dollars in 2020.

Francis, who founded the brand in his parents’ garage in Birmingham in 2012, returned to the CEO position at the company in August after stepping down in 2017 to take on the role of chief brand officer.

He replaced Steve Hewitt who had been at the helm of the company since 2017. Hewitt remains at Gymshark as its executive president.

The leadership change came as Gymshark geared up to expand in the US and Asia.

The company opened its first US distribution centre in California in July, which will be followed by two East Coast centres later in the year.

The company said it expects to see high double-digit growth in the US in the coming years.