Latest fashion industry deals

Date: September 2023
Buyer: Reward Finance Group
Target: Start-Rite Shoes
Business: Children's Footwear
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Reward Finance Group, an asset-backed short-to-medium term Lender, known for providing lending solutions to SMEs across the UK, has provided a 7-figure investment in children’s footwear brand Start-Rite Shoes. To finance Start-Rite’s latest ‘back to school’ line, set to be “a more affordable range of shoes in the current economic climate”. Based in Norwich, Start-Rite is an established name in the field of children’s footwear (founded over 230 years ago, making it one of Britain’s oldest manufacturers), and counts John Lewis, Next and Very amongst its customers.

Date: September 2023
Buyer: Next
Target: Reiss
Business: Women's fashion
Value: £128m
Details: Next has increased its shareholding in Reiss from 51% to 72%, after an acquisition by Next and the Reiss family of a 34% stake from private equity firm Warburg Pincus for £128m. Warburg Pincus has been a shareholder in Reiss for the last 7 years. The acquisition values Reiss at almost £400m - £376m - and means Next now hold 72% of the shares in Reiss, whilst the Reiss family hold 22%, and the company’s management team hold 6%. It is the latest in a series of High Street investments and acquisitions by Next, though marks a change from the distressed sellers and pre-pack acquisitions it has favoured of late.

Date: August 2023
Buyer: AK Retail (owner of Yours Clothing, M&Co.)
Target: Evans
Business: Fashion Retail
Value: £8m
Details: Following their rescue acquisition of distressed clothing retailer M&Co at the beginning of the year, AK Retail has acquired the brand and IP of Evans (female fashion retailer with a focus on plus-size clothing) from firm City Chic Collective, for £8m. Evans was sold to City Chic Collective in 2020 from Arcadia Group for £23m. The acquisition will result in a new Evans warehouse opening in Peterborough, where AK Retail is based.

Date: June 2023
Buyer: Frasers Group
Target: ASOS
Business: Fashion retail
Value: c.£10m
Details: Frasers Group has increased its stake in ASOS to just under 9%, up from its previous shareholding of 7.8% in May, at a reported cost of around £10m. The move makes Frasers Group ASOS’ third-largest shareholder behind Bestseller (a Danish fashion group) and Camelot Capital (a US hedge fund). If Frasers Group’s shareholding passes the 10% threshold, they will be able to block a statutory compulsory purchase of ASOS following any takeover offers being made. This is notable given a Turkish company backed by Chinese e-retailer Alibaba has reportedly set its sights on ASOS.

Date: June 2023
Buyer: Authentic Brands Group
Target: Hunter
Business: ‘Outdoor lifestyle’ and footwear brand, known for Hunter Wellies
Value: $125m
Details: Authentic Brands Group has acquired the IP of Hunter, the 160-year-old brand best known for its branded wellies, made famous by celebrities at festivals over the last decade. Authentic Brands has granted The Batra Group as core licensee in the UK and Europe (responsible for running Hunter’s retail stores, wholesale distribution and e-commerce there), and has agreed terms with Marc Fisher Footwear for footwear design, wholesale and e-commerce operations in the US.

Date: May 2023
Buyer: Frasers Group
Target: ASOS
Business: Fashion retail
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Frasers Group has increased its stake in ASOS to 7.4% up from its previous shareholding of around 5%. The Group previously increased its to 5% back in October 2022, when it became ASOS’ fourth largest shareholder.

Date: May 2023 (expected to complete in the second half of 2023)
Buyer: JD Sports
Target: Groupe Courir
Business: Sportswear
Value: €520 million
Details: JD Sports has entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase French sportswear retailer, Groupe Courir . The deal will require the approval of the European Commission and is not expected to complete before the second half of 2023. In accordance with French law, Courir’s management will be commencing consultations with its employee representative bodies before a binding sale and purchase agreement is put in place. It is proposed that the purchase will be financed by way of existing cash resources (€325 million) and by debt (€195 million).

Date: April 2023
Buyer: Authentic Brands Group
Target: Boardriders (Roxy, Quiksilver, Billabong)
Business: Surfwear and board sports
Value: undisclosed
Details: Authentic Brands Group has agreed to acquire Boardriders, the surf and lifestyle company which owns Roxy, Quiksilver and Billabong, amongst others, and operates in 35 countries. Though the purchase price has not yet been confirmed, it has been reported that Authentic Brands will pay close to $1billion for the acquisition. The deal is expected to close in Autumn 2023, subject to regulatory approvals.

Date: April 2023
Buyer: L’Oréal
Target: Aēsop
Business: Luxury Beauty Brand
Value: USD 2.525 billion
Details: L’Oréal has made its largest acquisition to date by signing an agreement with Natura &Co, to acquire Australian luxury brand Aēsop. The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and comes following L’Oréal’s acquisition of smaller brands such as Californian skincare brand Youth To The People in late 2021 and American skincare brand Skinbetter Science in late 2022.

Date: March 2023
Buyer: Next
Target: Cath Kidston (in administration)
Business: Floral Fashion
Value: £8.5 million
Details: Next has rescued the Cath Kidston brand in a pre-pack deal worth £8.5 million. The deal comes after the business fell into administration for the second time in years with approximately 125 jobs at risk as administrators set to close four UK Cath Kidston stores – in London, Ashford, Cheshire Oaks and York – once stock is sold off.



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