Frasers Group to buy Missguided for £20m | Fraser Group

Frasers Group, controlled by Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, has bought online fashion retailer Missguided for £20million in cash.

Frasers, owner of the Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Flannels retail chains, has announced that it has acquired certain intellectual properties from Missguided Ltd and related companies Mennace Ltd and Missguided (IP) Ltd, in a financed purchase by working capital.

Once the transaction is complete, Missguided will continue to be operated by the administrator under a transition agreement for approximately eight weeks before becoming a stand-alone business within the Frasers Group.

Michael Murray, chief executive of Frasers Group, said the company was “delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided”, adding that it would “benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform. and our operational excellence”.

He said: “Missguided’s digital approach to the latest trends in women’s fashion will bring additional expertise to the wider Frasers Group.

Missguided collapsed into administration on Monday after the company received a liquidation petition from clothing suppliers who owe millions of pounds, putting around 140 jobs at risk.

It is not yet known how many jobs will be saved by the purchase of Frasers. A source told the Guardian this week that around 80 positions were cut immediately after the company took office.

Teneo directors had failed to secure a last-minute rescue bid for Missguided, who made headlines with her £1 bikini three years ago, selling them at a loss as a marketing stunt.

The fast fashion company, founded in 2009 by Nitin Passi, ran into financial difficulties last fall. He was saved from collapse when private equity firm Alteri stepped in, buying a majority stake and taking a seat on the board. Passi then left the company.

In recent months, some of Missguided’s fashion suppliers in the UK and overseas have reportedly gone unpaid.

The Guardian understands that more than a dozen UK suppliers are reporting they collectively owe millions of pounds for orders, some of which were placed in the past month.

There had been speculation that online fashion’s biggest rival Boohoo would step in to buy Missguided as part of a pre-pack administration deal. However, the talks ultimately broke down.

Missguided was one of a small group of internet fashion businesses that rose to popularity at a time when traditional high street and established retailers were struggling. It first enjoyed rapid growth in its UK home market, boosting its notoriety through sponsorship of the reality TV show Love Island, before expanding to the US, Australia, France and Germany. .

The company’s predominantly female workforce at its Manchester headquarters and difficult negotiations with suppliers were highlighted in a documentary aired on Channel 4 in 2020.

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Missguided is just the latest brand Ashley has tossed into her basket as part of a shopping spree, picking up struggling brands like Evans Cycles, Jack Wills and online specialist Studio Retail.

The acquisition of Missguided is a “kick worth taking” for Frasers Group, according to Darcey Jupp, apparel analyst at GlobalData. “Operating Missguided as a standalone brand is a wise move, as its younger target audience would not be inclined to shop at its other fascias like House of Fraser,” she said.

Jupp said Frasers should ensure Missguided clothing was “trend-influenced and competitively priced”, adding: “With inflation spiraling in the UK, Missguided has the opportunity to capture young consumers who want to continue buying clothes but need to trade down.”