Mike Ashley’s retail empire may make a swoop for I Saw It First, an online fast-fashion brand owned by Boohoo founder Jalal Kamani.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Frasers Group could add I Saw It First to its list of retail takeovers within a matter of weeks.
The Telegraph’s sources told the newspaper that a deal could still fail to materialise.
Kamani helped found Boohoo with his brother Mahmud before going on to launch I Saw it First in 2017.
Boohoo and the Frasers group have previously locked horns in takeover battles for ailing high street and e-commerce brands.
The Sports Direct owner acquired beleaguered fashion platform Missguided earlier this year, despite rumours of takeover interest from rival Boohoo.
What’s more, the two firms came up against one another in a tussle for department store chain Debenhams when it collapsed into administration amid the pandemic.
Boohoo acquired the high street staple’s website out of administration.
In recent weeks, Frasers Group has snared a 29 per cent stake in Australia’s fashion platform MySale.
The company said the holding would create “an opportunity for a strategic partnership whereby end of line group products can be cleared via an established clearance channel.”
The group has also boosted its stake in luxury German fashion brand Hugo Boss. Now, Frasers holds 4.9 per cent of Hugo Boss stock directly and a further 26 per cent of stock indirectly through the sale of derivatives known as put options.
The group snapped up some assets from Studio Retail Group in February 2022, as well as pursuing a takeover campaign for the collapsed Debenhams department store chain in 2020.
Frasers are “certainly trying to position themselves as leaders in the retail industry, gathering a huge portfolio of brands,” Wizz Selvey, retail strategy guru and former head of buying at Selfridges, told CityA.M. last month.
The group was selecting a very diverse range of businesses which cover different demographics, she added, pointing to its pandemic attempts to acquire the Debenhams’ store estate.
The Frasers Group are always looking for something that can bring additional resources or skills, or historically it has been physical space that [they] have been able to utilise within the business,” she added.
“What’s interesting about the Missguided acquisition is that it is a digital-only brand,” enabling Frasers Group to reap the rewards of the Manchester-based retailer’s “digital skills.”
In May, Frasers’ new boss Michael Murray asserted that the retailer’s former boss and his future father-in-law was “not pulling the strings.”
In his first interview since stepping into Mike Ashley’s shoes as chief executive, Murray also warned prices would likely go up across brands including Sports Direct.