Frasers Group buys Missguided, will operate it as a standalone
In a surprise move, Frasers Group announced on Wednesday that it has acquired Missguided, the online fast-fashion business that went under earlier this week.
Or, more accurately, it has “acquired certain intellectual property of the online women's fashion retailer, Missguided Limited (in administration), Mennace Limited (in administration) and Missguided (IP) Limited for a cash consideration of £20 million”.
Mennace is the womenswear specialist’s menswear label.
The move was surprising given that Frasers has tended to focus more of its investment higher up the price scale in recent periods. However, it had previously bought mass- and mid-market brands and had lost out on other fast-fashion labels that had become available due to the pandemic.
Following completion, the business will be operated by the administrator under a transitional agreement for around eight weeks. It’s then “the intention that Missguided will operate as a standalone business within the [Frasers] group”.
Frasers CEO Michael Murray said the company is “delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided, which will benefit from the strength and scale of FG's platform and our operational excellence. Missguided's digital-first approach to the latest trends in women's fashion will bring additional expertise to the wider group”.
It’s an interesting outcome for Missguided and — while Murray specifically referenced its digital-first approach — suggests that it might even have a future in more physical stores.
Frasers’ House of Fraser stores, for instance, have lost some of their fast-fashion concessions in recent years due to ownership changes of various brands, so Missguided’s addition might be an opportunity there.
Not that Frasers has said anything more than its basic stock exchange statement so far.
Boohoo Group had been seen as the most likely buyer of the brand, although it’s unclear whether it was outbid or whether it withdrew. Buying Missguided might have presented it with issues of differentiating the label given its ownership of a variety of youth-focused fast-fashion brands already.
There’s no news yet on whether Missguided operating as a standalone will also mean it retaining its Manchester HQ and operating with any of its current team. Some job cuts had already been made by the administrators this week.
It’s unlikely to be good news for the firm’s suppliers who were owned millions and whose winding up petition precipitated the collapse of the business, nor for backer Alteri that bought a stake for more than £50 million last autumn.
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