Your commercial news round-up: Gymshark, H&M, Deutsche Bank, KPMG

updated on 14 October 2021

Reading time: two minutes.

Since it’s spooky season, it seems only right to provide a round-up of business news that’s been haunting the City this week.

  • Gymshark has begun talks with banks and investors about a future initial public offering. Gymshark was founded by Aston University graduate, Ben Francis, at the tender age of 19. The now 29-year-old founder is formulating plans for a stock market listing in the expanding athleisure business. This announcement follows news of Ben returning as CEO and the company hitting a £1 billion mark to gain its unicorn status. Gymshark is based in Solihull and regularly speaks to financial institutions to stay connected to the business world. The pandemic has boosted online sales of athleisure clothing inspiring many clothing brands to expand their activewear range.
  • More than two decades later, H&M appears victorious in its trademark battle with Adidas. Nearly 25 years ago, Adidas filed a lawsuit against H&M in the Netherlands regarding its sale of “blue, marigold, and rust-hued athletic wares emblazoned with two parallel vertical stripes on the sleeves of t-shirts and the sides of shorts and pants legs.” Adidas argued that the use of stipes clashed with its exclusive rights, but the Hague Court of Appeal held that that H&M did not infringe Adidas’ three-stripe logo by using a two-stripe design on various items of sportswear. The German sports giant was ordered to pay €80,000 as compensation for H&M’s legal costs.
  • In banking news, Deutsche Bank faces a €500 million lawsuit for the forex scandal. Palladium Hotel Group, Spain’s seventh-largest hotel, has sued the German lender for the alleged miss-selling of “complex and risky foreign exchange (forex) derivatives.” The bank is also facing allegations of selling “exotic financial products to small and mid-sized companies in Spain.” The bank recently compensated a Spanish winemaker €10 million for mis-selling foreign exchange derivatives. However, the bank intends on “vigorously” battling Palladium’s allegations and has disregarded any chances of settlement.
  • In the same vein, KPMG faces denouncement for knowingly giving an “untruthful” defence in the sale of Silentnight. The UK’s accounting watchdog denounced the Anglo-Dutch firm for proceeding to act as an adviser to both bed manufacturer Silentnight and equity firm HIG Capital despite a conflict of interest. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued KPMG a fine of £13 million and £500,000 against former partner David Costley-Wood. Last month we reported the accounting giant facing allegations for providing “false and misleading” information; it’s now under investigation by the FRC for its auditing role in the collapse of construction firm Carillion.

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