Latest fashion industry deals

Date: May 2024
Buyer: The Brand Group
Target: Roksanda
Business: Luxury womenswear brand
Value: Undisclosed
Details: The Brand Group has acquired London-based luxury womenswear brand Roksanda from the newly-appointed joint administrators of the company, as part of a rescue deal for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition follows a winding up petition filed against the company by one of its creditors in the Business and Property Courts of the High Court on 9 April 2024, and the company’s formal appointment of the joint administrators on 10 May 2024, as a result of “recent volatile market conditions”. Roksanda Ilincic MBE founded the eponymous label in 2005, and it has been a firm favourite at London Fashion Week shows over the years since then. Roksanda Ilincic will remain as the brand’s creative director going forward, and it is understood that the acquisition has protected the jobs of the brand’s employees.

Date: May 2024
Buyer: Nadja Swarovski
Target: Really Wild Clothing
Business: Womenswear brand
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Nadja Swarovski (whose family created the Swarovski jewellery brand) has acquired a majority shareholding in British womenswear brand, Really Wild Clothing, along with her husband, Rupert Adams. Nadja Swarovski spent 26 years working for the Swarovski jewellery business, becoming CEO and Creative Director of the brand, as well as being the first female member on the company’s executive board. As part of the acquisition, Nadja Swarovski will become Chief Creative Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chairwoman of Really Wild Clothing’s board; Rupert Adams will become Managing Director; and existing shareholders Gabriela Luksic and Florence Newman will continue working for the business, along with the brand’s founder, Natalie Lake. Founded in 2002, Really Wild Clothing is a women’s fashion and lifestyle brand that focusses on tailored garments inspired by countryside pursuits, and is known for its tweed pieces.

Date: April 2024
Buyer: Alven
Target: Carbonfact
Business: Carbon management and reporting tool
Value: $15million
Details: Carbonfact, a carbon management and regulator reporting tool for fashion businesses based in Paris, has completed a $15m Seed A funding round led by existing investor, Alven (a backer of French fashion brand, Sézane), with Y Combinator and Headline joining as co-investors. Carbonfact helps fashion brands to fulfil their regulatory reporting obligations by automating the collection of emissions data required for making these reports, as well as automating the report submission process itself - in turn, helping brands to measure and reduce the emissions generated by their products. The fashion industry generates up to 10% of annual global carbon emissions, and Carbonfact’s goal is to de-carbonise the fashion industry by helping brands identify ways in which to reduce their own carbon emissions. Notable Carbonfact customers include Carhartt, Maison Maes, Columbia and New Balance.

Date: May 2024
Buyer: Frasers Group
Target: Boohoo
Business: Women’s fashion e-tailer
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Frasers Group (owner of Sports Direct, Flannels, House of Fraser and Jack Wills), has again subscribed for shares in Boohoo, taking its current stake in the business from 22.08% (February 2024) to 23.10%. Since October 2023, Frasers Group has been the largest shareholder in Boohoo, and continues its strategy of increasing its shareholding incrementally every few months.

Date: April 2024
Buyer: Mirabaud Lifestyle, Impact & Innovation Fund, D1 Capital Partners, JAM Fund
Target: Sparxell
Business: Plant-based textile pigments
Value: £2.5million
Details: Sparxell, a business founded in 2022 by University of Cambridge scientists Dr Bejamin Droguet and Professor Silvia Vignolini, has received £2.5million in a seed funding round. The round was led by Circular Innovation Fund, a venture capital fund managed by L’Oreal Cycle Capital and Demeter. Fellow investors included Future Communities Capital (an investor in SpaceX), PDS Ventures, Katapult, Joyance Partners and SNØCAP VC. Sparxell works to create vibrant colour pigments using fully plant-based cellulose, a renewable, biodegradable resource that can be extracted from waste streams. The resulting product is toxin-free and fully biodegradable, with Dr Droguet stating that “our plant-based materials can be grown and sourced locally in a complete rethink of how colours are currently being manufactured while reducing transport emissions”, compared to traditional chemical colourants that cause “major environmental harm”. Sparxell’s products can then be used in the fashion industry through textile colouring, embellishments and sequins, once it completes a further Series A funding round later this year.

Date: April 2024
Buyer: Frasers Group
Target: Matches Fashion
Business: Women’s fashion retailer
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Frasers Group has purchased certain IP assets from Matches Fashion (“Matches”) out of administration for an undisclosed sum. Frasers acquired Matches from Apax Partners for £52million in December 2023, and subsequently placed Matches into administration in March 2024, appointing Teneo as the administrators. Currently, Matches’ administrators estimate that the business has £36million owed to unsecured creditors, which include many of the luxury brands stocked in Matches’ stores and website, and currently has over £80million worth of stock. Frasers’ acquisition is limited strictly to Matches’ IP (said to be intangible items, including the Matches trademark, domain names and databases of the Matches store), and does not include the stock or remaining employees, which remain under the administrators’ control.

Date: April 2024
Buyer: JD Sports Fashion
Target: Hibbett, Inc.
Business: Sportswear / Athletic fashion retailer
Value: $1.08billion
Details: JD Sports Fashion (“JD Sports”) has agreed to acquire US athletic fashion retailer, Hibbett, Inc., for $1.08billion, equal to $87.50 per share. Hibbett, Inc. is headquartered in Alabama, and operates 1,169 stores across 36 states in the US. The North American region currently contributes 32% to JD Sports’ total sales, and adding Hibbett to JD Sports’ portfolio is thought to increase that contribution to 40%, and will increase JD Sports’ US reach “from coast to coast”.

Date: March 2024
Buyer: Frasers Group
Target: Aphrodite
Business: Menswear retailer
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Frasers Group has acquired Sunderland-based independent menswear retailer, Aphrodite, for an undisclosed amount. Aphrodite was founded in 1994, and counts Paul Smith, Barbour and Patagonia among the brands it stocks. This is the latest in a series of acquisitions of independent retailers by Fraser, who also acquired Zee & Co. (based in London and Essex) and John Anthony (based in Bournemouth) in December 2023, both of which stock multiple brads, like Aphrodite, and Flannels, purchased by Frasers in 2017.

Date: March 2024
Buyer: OTB Group
Target: Calzaturificio Stephen
Business: Italian luxury footwear brand
Value: Undisclosed
Details: OTB Group (owner of Viktor&Rolf, Maison Margiela, and Diesel, amongst others) has acquired a majority shareholding in luxury Italian footwear brand Calzaturificio Stephen (“CS”). The Bertollo family, who founded the business in 1967, continue to maintain a stake in the business and will continue to run the business going forward. CS has been a supplier to OTB Group for over 20 years, supplying luxury footwear to OTB Group’s brands, and OTB has been increasing its shareholding in CS for some time. The acquisition is part of OTB’s plan to optimise its supply chain, by acquiring Italy-based companies to help in the development of its brands.

Date: March 2024
Buyer: Mirabaud Lifestyle, Impact & Innovation Fund, D1 Capital Partners, JAM Fund
Target: Urbanic London
Business: Urban fashion
Value: $150million
Details: Urbanic, a London-based brand that focuses on socially-responsible urban fashion, has completed a Series C investment funding round totalling $150 million from a group of international investors, including Swiss-entity Mirabaud Lifestyle, Impact & Innovation Fund, US-based D1 Capital Partners, and JAM Fund, amongst other European co-investors. Urbanic was founded in 2019, with an emphasis on environmental and social responsibility throughout the value chain of its products, and its use of technology to generate fashion designs. The investment will be used to improve its technology – particularly around AI to generate further designs and online content – and to improve the sustainability of its supply chain, minimising inventory waste by aligning designs with actual demand for its products.

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