May 27, 2021
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Frasers denies takeover plans for Hugo Boss

May 27, 2021

It had all the makings of a headline-grabbing takeover, but Frasers Group buying Hugo Boss has turned out to be nothing more than pure speculation for now.

Hugo Boss

After weeks of unconfirmed reports that ambitious UK fashion and lifestyle group was preparing to make a multi-million euro bid for German fashion house, the former’s boss Mike Ashely has said he has no intention of buying the Frankfurt-listed company.

In a 20-word statement, the company said: "Frasers Group wishes to make a market clarification that Frasers Group does not intend to bid for Hugo Boss AG”.

Having surged last week amid the speculation, Frasers shares were holding steady on Thursday, suggesting the market probably just raised its eyes at yet another false dawn. And Hugo Boss shares were also unchanged after rising 7% last week, valuing the business at around €3.2 billion.

But it was all too easy to link the two companies, given Frasers’ willingness to buy minority stakes to invest in companies it likes and it's ambition to become a bigger player in the high end fashion sector. Cash-rich Frasers had gradually built a 15.2% stake in Hugo Boss. It also has a 37% stake in UK luxury fashion brand Mulberry.

Announcing its increased stake in Hugo Boss in January, Frasers said: "This investment reflects Frasers Group's growing relationship with Hugo Boss and belief in Hugo Boss's long-term future. Frasers Group intends to be a supportive stakeholder and create value in the interests of both Frasers Group's and Hugo Boss' shareholders.”

And Frasers Group is continually linked with other business, including the failed Arcadia, Peacocks and Jaeger, to name a recent few. It was also embroiled in a long-running — and ultimately unsuccessful — attempt to take control of Debenhams, having started by buying a minority stake.

And its interests don’t stop at retailers. Earlier this year, it bought a second retail park — Robin Retail Park in Wigan to add to its purchase of the Berryden Retail Park in Aberdeen — and maybe looking to expand in this sector further.

The group said the purchase shows its commitment to “elevating bricks and mortar retail” and said it sees this latest acquisition as another “stepping stone” to more property acquisitions throughout 2021 within the UK and Ireland.

And with those high hopes and ambitions for its Flannels luxury retail business, Frasers will likely be linked to further fashion houses in its bid to become a major player within the industry. It could even see further speculation about its Hugo Boss intentions.

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