Chunky bootmaker Dr. Martens to sell shares to public

LONDON — The maker of Dr. Martens boots, the chunky-soled footwear once championed by rebellious young people but now favored by celebrities like Rihanna, plans to sell shares to the public as the existing owners seek to profit from growth of the iconic brand.

Dr. Martens Ltd. said today that current investors plan to sell at least 25% of their stake in an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

Permira Funds, a London-based private equity investor, bought Dr. Martens for 300 million pounds (currently worth $400 million) in 2014. Private equity firms seek to buy undervalued companies then restructure their operations and cut costs before selling at a profit.

Dr. Martens Chief Executive Kenny Wilson said the IPO underscored the brand’s “global growth potential” after revenue increased by 39% over the past two financial years to an annual 672.2 million pounds ($900 million). The company is expanding online sales to complement revenue from 130 shops in 60 countries.

“Our iconic brand appeals to a diverse range of consumers around the world who wear our footwear to express their individual style,’’ Wilson said in a statement to the stock exchange. “We have invested massively to ensure that we deliver the best digital and store experiences to connect with our wearers.”