But in 1973, after the death of its founder, the company was bought by a conglomerate, Beatrice Foods. Crushed by debt, Beatrice was later sold off in a huge leveraged buyout.
Samsonite was listed on the Nasdaq between 1994 and 2002, when it was dropped for having a market value below the minimum requirement. It tried to shed its dowdy, midmarket image and transform itself into a luxury brand. A few more changes of ownership later, it floated shares in Hong Kong in 2011, around the same time as Prada.
Blue Orca, which does not hide the fact that it stands to profit if Samsonite’s stock price falls, says in its report that investors trade Samsonite shares at a high premium relative to its earnings, as if it were a luxury name comparable to Burberry. This is “ridiculous,” the firm’s report argues.
“Tumi is Samsonite’s high-end brand. Yet it is popular not with the jet-set crowd, but overzealous business school students and bleary-eyed McKinsey consultants,” the report says.
In a news release responding to the report, Samsonite said that it had a strong record of organic growth and free cash flow.