LONDON: Mike Ashley‘s Frasers Group has increased its maximum exposure to German fashion house Hugo Boss to 840 million pounds ($954 million) and has built a more than 5% stake in struggling British online fashion retailer ASOS.
Frasers, formerly called Sports Direct, is on a drive to move upmarket and said on Monday it now holds 4.3% of Hugo Boss stock directly and a further 28.5% via the sale of derivatives known as put options.
A Frasers spokesperson also said that the British sportswear and apparel retailer now holds more than 5% of ASOS. A later regulatory filing said the stake was 5.1%.
Last Wednesday ASOS, the one-time British poster child for the shift to online fashion retailing, said it would overhaul its business model after the economic crunch and a string of operational problems hammered its profits.
Frasers first took a stake in Hugo Boss – a supplier to its House of Fraser and Flannels chains – in 2020.
“Frasers Group has a long history … of making strategic investments to develop relationships and partnerships with other retailers, suppliers and brands,” it said, adding that it has “extensive ambitions” to expand in the UK and beyond.
The group this month disclosed a 4.5% stake in online clothing retailer N Brown and is also seeking full ownership of Australian online retailer Mysale.
In June Frasers acquired ASOS rival Missguided out of administration for 20 million pounds. It also bought online retailer Studio Retail in February.
Shares in ASOS were up 2.1% at 0911 GMT, paring 2022 losses to 78%. Shares in Frasers firmed by 0.9% while Hugo Boss was up 0.3%.
Ashley stepped down as Frasers’ chief executive in May and was succeeded by his son-in-law Michael Murray but still owns 69% of Frasers’ equity.