Thursday 19 November 2020 12:35 pm

Mike Ashley's Frasers Group increases stake in luxury brand Mulberry

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has increased its stake in Mulberry, sending the luxury handbag firm’s share price up more than eight per cent this morning. 

Frasers Group, which was formerly known as Sports Direct, has upped its stake in the designer brand to 36.82 per cent.

Read more: Retail tycoon Mike Ashley ‘furious’ after being ‘frozen out’ of Debenhams sale

The group, which also owns House of Fraser, Jack Wills and Flannels as well as Sports Direct, first took a stake in Mulberry in February this year.

It doubled its holding to around 29 per cent earlier this month. 

A stake of more than 30 per cent would usually require the retailer to make an offer to buy the whole company, under takeover panel rules.

Read more: Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group urges investors to back employee bonus scheme

However, as Challice, which is owned by Singaporean billionaire Christina Ong, currently holds around 56 per cent of Mulberry’s issued share capital, Frasers Group has been granted a dispensation by the panel.

Frasers Group said it will reserve its right to make a voluntary offer for the company, with a deadline of 17 December.  

Ashley, who founded budget sportswear retailer Sports Direct in 1982, has been on an acquisition spree over the past few years to strengthen his company’s portfolio of high street stores.

Read more: Frasers Group launches charm offensive to boost reputation over treatment of staff

He bought the beleaguered department store House of Fraser out of administration in 2018, declaring it would be transformed into the “Harrods of the high street”.

The company has been targeting a higher-end reputation for some time, having taken full control of luxury retailer Flannels in 2017 and ditched its Sports Direct name in favour of Frasers Group last year.

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