Frasers mulls bid for I Saw It First - report
Frasers Group is never far away from mulling an acquisition, or at least heading the media rumour mill in being linked to one. So Monday brought news that the UK group may be making a play for online fast-fashion retailer I Saw It First, currently owned by Boohoo co-founder Jalal Kamani.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Frasers Group sees I Saw It First as a potential takeover target within weeks. However, the paper’s sources also said a deal could fail to materialise.
The report also said that Boohoo could also be a potential bidder for the business. Both it and Frasers Group have been keen rivals in vying for high street and e-commerce brands, particularly ailing ones. They locked horns in the battle for collapsed department store group Debenhams which went Boohoo’s way, acquiring its website out of administration.
However, the Sports Direct and Flannels owner did acquire struggling fashion platform Missguided earlier this year, despite takeover interest from Boohoo.
Buying Missguided gave Frasers access to and wider know-how of the online fashion market and I Saw It First would fit well into its growing ambitions for the sector.
In recent weeks, Frasers Group has also taken a 29% stake in Australia’s fashion platform MySale while the group took over Studio Retail Group assets in February.
The company said its interest in MySale would create “an opportunity for a strategic partnership whereby end-of-line group products can be cleared via an established clearance channel”.
After helping co-found Boohoo with his brother Mahmud, Kamani. went on to launch I Saw it First in 2017.
The UK-based fashion e-tailer has seen sales in its domestic market soaring, despite a drop in international revenues in the latest financial year, according to accounts filed at Companies House in early July. It currently boasts a customer base of more than 3 million, with a focus on the female shopper aged 30 and under.
In the year to 3 October, overall sales rose 30% to reach £74.7 million. However, the company remains loss-making with a £7.7 million deficit on a pre-tax basis, wider than the £7.5 million loss of the previous year.
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