Latest fashion industry deals

Date: December 2023
Buyer: Praetura Ventures
Target: HURR
Business: Fashion Rental
Value: £8m funding round
Details: Praetura Ventures has invested in HURR, a female-founded British luxury fashion rental platform, as part of a seed funding round. The investment now brings HURR’s fundraising total in this round to just under £8m, with funds Octopus Ventures (an investor in Depop) and Ascension also investing. Previously, HURR’s 2021 funding round closed at £5.4m. HURR’s platform includes over 130 brands and is not only a peer-to-peer rental platform, but also counts John Lewis, Mulberry and Net-a-Porter among its partners, providing them with their own fashion rental service platforms. HURR’s strategy is to “make the shift in fashion from ownership to access happen ASAP”.

Date: December 2023
Buyer: Coupang
Target: Farfetch
Business: Luxury Fashion Resale
Value: £400m
Details: South Korean e-commerce entity Coupang – known as South Korea’s own Amazon - has confirmed plans to acquire Farfetch under a pre-administration rescue deal, with the transaction to complete in early 2024. As part of the acquisition, US-listed Farfetch will have its shares de-listed, following 5 years on the New York Stock Exchange. While the total transaction value has not been disclosed, some reports suggest it could be as much as just under £4m and includes a $500m emergency funding injection into Farfetch, which was on the brink of insolvency. Despite this, Farfetch’s anticipated acquisition of a c.47% stake in Net-a-Porter has been terminated, owing to its financial difficulties. It is reported that Farfetch has over $1billion outstanding term loans and credit facilities.

Date: December 2023
Buyer: Frasers Group
Target: Matchesfashion
Business: Luxury Fashion
Value: £52m
Details: Frasers Group continues to expand its retail empire with the acquisition of Matches (formerly Matchesfashion), an online luxury retailer established in London over 30 years ago, from MF Intermediate Limited (a subsidiary of Apax Partners). Matches was previously acquired by Apax Partners 6 years ago for roughly £60m, therefore making a loss on the sale to Frasers, though the Matches business itself has suffered heavy losses in the last few years (reportedly a loss of up to £33m in2022). The acquisition comes as part of Frasers’ shift to its “elevation” strategy, focussing on brands at the higher end of the market like its other recent acquisitions, Flannels and Gieves & Hawkes, and its investment in Hugo Boss.

Date: October 2023
Buyer: Shein
Target: Missguided
Business: Women's Fashion
Value: Undisclosed
Details: Shein has acquired the IP and brand of Missguided from Frasers Group for an undisclosed sum. Frasers Group, having only acquired Missguided itself just over a year ago as part of a £20m administration sale, is set to retain Missguided’s staff and its real estate. Going forward, Shein will sell Misguided products through both the Missguided website and the Shein website. The deal marks Shein’s first British brand acquisition, but perhaps not its last, with the Frasers team saying that they “are excited about the ongoing discussion around further collaboration between Frasers Group and Shein.

Date: October 2023
Buyer: Next
Target: FatFace
Business: Lifestyle Fashion
Value: £115.2m
Details: Next has announced its plans to acquire FatFace, the lifestyle clothing brand, for £115m. FatFace began as a skiwear retailer in the 1980s and became very popular during the ‘BoHo’ and surfer fashion trends of the mid-2000s, expanding to over 200 stores across the UK and North America currently. Going forward, FatFace’s management will own a 3% stake in the business, while Next will acquire the remaining 97%. The acquisition comes after a period of strong financial results for FatFace, and the deal is rumoured to include the right for FatFace management to participate in a performance-related equity scheme. It is expected that FatFace’s existing board of directors will remain in place and retain control over the day to day running of the brand. Next has been a commercial partner of FatFace for some time, with its clothing being available sold in Next’s stores and on its website for several years.

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.




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