Jamie Fuller, the outspoken founder of disruptive sportswear manufacturer SKINS, has revealed that the company has filed for bankruptcy with the Swiss Court.
Fuller announced the news in a statement posted on the SKINS website, confirming that a trustee would be appointed to manage the firm’s assets with immediate effect.
He explained: “What has brought us to this point really started 11 years ago. When the global financial crisis (GFC) hit in 2008, I sold a portion of SKINS to a private equity firm. I also made a lousy deal.
“When the GFC was over, I had to get out of the private equity arrangement. To do so, we borrowed heavily, and with the help of a Japanese partner we managed to buy out the private equity shareholders.
“To my enormous regret, those borrowings have become unsustainable and while we have been working for some time now to try to avoid what is happening today, in the end there was no choice.”
Describing his “devastation” at the development, Fuller sought to reassure customers that the SKINS brand would continue under new ownership.
The company’s performance-tech based products have attracted a global following, helped by its strong brand positioning around integrity issues in sport.
Australian-based Fuller became a familiar face in the sport business media, frequently criticising competitors and major rightsholders over their track records on matters related to governance and ethics.
Often described as the ‘Bob Geldof of sport,’ he entered the sport industry with his purchase of SKINS in 2002.
He said: “I bought into [it] because I wanted to get into sport. I was so thrilled to be owning a brand where they not only made something innovative, bold and ambitious – garments that improve sports performance and aid recovery – but it was also an opportunity to do and contribute to something ‘bigger’, and help make sport better.
“Our entire brand positioning was around ‘changing the world through sport’.
“It is what we set out to do; to help level the playing field on-and-off the field through championing important issues and holding sport to account for being everything we love about it – competitive, fair, based on teamwork and good sportsmanship, dedication, commitment, integrity. They were all traits that were – and are – important to us.
“We worked to help bring sport back to its basic tenets, fuelled by the spirit of pure competition. As a brand, we wanted to make a difference, and we like to think that we have.”
SKINS, which has previously held partnership agreements with Stoke City FC, Bath Rugby and Exeter Chiefs in the UK, has consolidated its sponsorship portfolio around Australian properties in recent years.
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