In a shocking deal, Australian businessmen Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his ex Nicola have purchased the iconic hat brand, Akubra.
Few people knew about the purchase until this week, when the Keir families, which own the brand, agreed to the deal.
The deal, which was reportedly years in the making, was revealed in an exclusive report by The Sunday Telegraph.
For five generations, the Keirs have owned the brand. Although they have received numerous offers to buy the company, they believe they have found the right people to take over the brand.
The company has been run by the Keirs family for over a hundred years. In 1874, Benjamin Dunkerly, their great-great grandfather, left England to work in Tasmania.
He saw an opportunity to expand his business in Australia due to the country’s rabbit problem. The animal had been causing a lot of problems for farmers, which resulted in culling efforts.
In 1905, Dunkerly hired a young English milliner named Stephen Keir I. He would eventually marry Benjamin’s daughter, Ada.
Together, they started a new generation of Keirs at the helm of the company. The hats, which are made with rabbit fur, became an integral part of Australia’s national identity.
They were given as gifts to the country’s Olympians and military personnel, and they were also worn by Hollywood stars.
On Sunday, Tattarang, an investment company owned by the Forrest family, will officially take over the Keirs’ factory at Kempsey on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Three years ago, the company and the Forrest family purchased R.M Williams, a well-known boot brand. The deal is believed to be worth around $200 million.
In 2021, Tattarang purchased a 6.61 percent stake in Bega Cheese, an Australian company. The company then increased its stake to 11.5 percent in 2022.
It’s believed that the sale price of Akubra is similar to the $190 million that the company paid for R.M Williams three years ago.