Frasers Group Secures Matches in £52 Million Luxury Retail Acquisition

Frasers Group Secures Matches in £52 Million Luxury Retail Acquisition

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group acquires Matches in a significant deal, reshaping the landscape of luxury retail under the Frasers umbrella

In a significant move, Frasers Group, led by retail mogul Mike Ashley, has acquired Matches in a cash deal valued at £52 million. The acquisition aims to bolster Frasers’ foothold in the luxury market, enhancing its relationships with brand partners and amplifying access to premium global labels.

Matches CEO, Nick Beighton, will collaborate closely with the Frasers team to devise a robust strategy for the business. Beighton expressed optimism about the synergy, highlighting the potential for greater scale, retail expertise, and financial stability that Frasers brings to Matches.

The sale of Matches marks a setback for Apax Partners, who purchased the online luxury retailer in 2017 for a reported valuation of $1 billion. Despite strategic efforts, Apax struggled to propel Matches into commercial success, leading to the eventual sale to Frasers.

Despite the challenging economic backdrop, Matches CEO Nick Beighton remains steadfast, noting the resilient trading performance of the company. Beighton, the former CEO of Asos, has been implementing significant changes, reducing costs and ensuring operational readiness for the festive season.

Frasers Group’s acquisition of Matches adds another prestigious name to its expanding luxury portfolio, which includes Sports Direct, Flannels, Agent Provocateur, Jack Wills, and House of Fraser. The move aligns with Mike Ashley’s strategy of investing in distressed companies and premium brands.

Mike Ashley, often dubbed the “Grim Reaper of the high street,” remains a controversial figure in British retail. Frasers Group, a publicly traded company in England, continues to make strategic acquisitions, with Matches joining a list of brands under Ashley’s retail empire.

Matches’ journey under Apax Partners faced challenges, with multiple CEO changes and financial struggles. Apax’s attempt to navigate the luxury e-commerce business, including installing Beighton as the fourth CEO, ultimately led to the decision to sell the retailer.

Frasers Group’s track record includes both successful acquisitions, such as Missguided, and challenges, as seen in the failed attempt to take over Mulberry Group in 2020. The acquisition of Matches adds a new chapter to Ashley’s dynamic and often contentious retail endeavors.