If the deal is confirmed, Permira would take control of R Griggs Group but may only acquire a license to use the Dr Martens name, with the family retaining ownership of the brand, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Sales of the brand rose 27 percent in the year to March 2013 to £126 million ($203 million). Managing Director David Suddens is expected to remain with the company.

The family also held talks with potential investors in early 2012 but ended negotiations due to lower than expected prices.