Australian mining magnate Twiggy Forrest and his ex-wife Nicola have bought iconic hat brand Akubra in a bombshell multimillion-dollar deal.
The company has been continuously owned by five generations of the Keir family until now.
Outgoing Chairman of the Akubra Board of Directors Stephen Keir IV said the family had chosen to sell to Forrest because they wanted to entrust the company to custodians who would protect and invest in the company.
“We thought long and hard about selling the business after five generations of family ownership,” Keir said.
“After we saw how the Forrests have invested in local manufacturing with R.M.Williams we decided they were the right custodians for Akubra.”
The Forrests, through their private investment group Tatterang, have made it their mission to buy Australian companies to keep them in Aussie hands, including RM Williams, fashion house Camilla and Bega cheese.
“We are humbled to be entrusted with a company which is so important to Australia’s national identity,” Andrew Forrest said today in a statement.
“Tattarang invests to ensure companies like Akubra remain Australian owned and we’re proud to be able to ensure the growth of Australian manufacturing, both protecting and creating new jobs, particularly in our regions.”
Nicola Forrest said she was committed to protecting and enhancing the company’s amazing legacy.
“Growing up in regional New South Wales, my parents taught me lifelong lessons about hard work and resilience,” she said.
“An Akubra has always been part of my life, and as a new custodian, I am excited to help new generations discover this treasured Australian icon.”
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The brand was originally established in Hobart, but moved to `Kempsey from Sydney in the 1970s.
Akubra has produced hats for Australian Olympic teams, delivered more than two million hats to the Australian Armed Forces and featured in classic films.
Each Akubra takes six weeks to make and involves 62 processes.