The global public health situation has affected everyone. This includes individuals and businesses. Some businesses have obviously struggled, given the extended lockdowns and restrictive measures imposed by national governments. However, other businesses have thrived in the past ten months. For example, a report in one British newspaper, The Guardian, from October 2020 [1] highlighted that online retailer Amazon had tripled its profits in the third quarter of 2020. Other businesses are considering how best to survive, and even thrive in, the current situation.

For British bootmaker, Dr Martens, the way forward seems to be to go public on the British Stock Exchange. On the 11th January 2020, the company announced that it would float 25% of the company in an IPO (Initial Public Offering). The deal could, apparently, value Dr Martens at around £2 billion.

Dr Martens boots (or DMs) have a long and interesting history. The first boots produced in the United Kingdom, in 1960, were aimed at workers, such as postmen and others who did a lot of walking in their jobs. However, the boots gained a fashion status in the 1960s, particularly with certain musicians. In the 1970s and 1980s, Dr Martens boots became associated with football hooligans and football violence. In recent years, however, they have regained their reputation as an iconic, fashion boot, with stars such as Lady Gaga wearing them.

The company, now backed by private equity group Permira, are launching what would be the first major IPO of 2021. Last year was relatively quiet for IPOs, with perhaps the major flotation being that of The Hut Group, a British e-commerce company, in September 2020. However, 2021 may see more activity, with companies such as the greetings card manufacturer, Moonpig, cyber security company Dark Trace, and Deliveroo, also possibly launching IPOs.

According to Matthew Moulding, founder of The Hut Group:

“the government should keep banging the drum for businesses to float in the UK. We can quickly get a real cluster of high growth tech businesses on the London Stock Exchange, which will then lead to a real tech community building out each year”.

[1] ‘Amazon Third Quarter Earnings Soar As Pandemic Sales Triple Profits’ – Edward Helmore, The Guardian, 29th October 2020


imposed (to impose) – to force something on someone (often something which is unpleasant or unwelcome)

profits – financial gains – usually the difference between money that comes in to a company (revenue) and money that goes out of a company (outgoings)

float – in this context, it basically means to make the shares of a company available to the public to buy, on a Stock Exchange.

backed – in this context, it basically means ‘supported’.

banging the drum (for something) – In this context, it means to speak enthusiastically about something, usually to try and persuade others about its value.


In the following sentences, choose one word from those in the glossary to complete the sentences.

1. A secretive start up ……………………… by Bill Gates has achieved a solar breakthrough aimed at saving the planet. (

2. “I’m always making sure that I’m ……………………………..for working-class audiences because I come from a working-class background.

3. The company’s …………………………. rose by 12% in the second quarter of this year.

4. Indian police ………………………… heavy security and closed several main roads around New Delhi on Wednesday, a day after farmers went on the rampage in the capital, leaving one person dead and dozens injured.

5. The company hopes that its decision to …………………………… on the Stock Exchange will increase its value significantly.


1. backed

2. banging the drum

3. profits

4. imposed

5. float

© Cambridge Legal English Academy 2021

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