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Ashley’s Frasers Group Raises Stakes in Hugo Boss, Asos

Schäfer will leave the company on May 31 to pursue a “new professional assignment.”
Frasers said Monday it now has a strategic stake of 32.8 percent in Hugo Boss, mostly held through indirect put options, valued at €960 million ($945 million). (Shutterstock)

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group Plc is continuing a strategy of taking bets on rivals with the sportswear retailer increasing its holdings at fashion brand Hugo Boss AG and online platform Asos Plc.

Frasers said Monday it now has a strategic stake of 32.8 percent in Hugo Boss, mostly held through indirect put options, valued at €960 million ($945 million). That’s up from €900 million in June.

The group behind the Sports Direct chain has also raised its position in Asos to 5.1 percent, making it one of the top five investors in the troubled online retailer which revealed restructuring plans last week.

Asos shares surged as much as 10 percent, while Hugo Boss rose about 0.2 percent.

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Ashley, the billionaire who founded Frasers four decades ago, has a track record of taking stakes in failing retailers and building up positions in rivals.

The moves at Hugo Boss and Asos show Frasers hasn’t lost its acquisitive streak since Ashley handed over the role of chief executive officer to his son-in-law, Michael Murray, and left the board. Ashley remains majority shareholder at Frasers, which also owns the luxury Flannels chain.

Hugo Boss is in the midst of a turnaround plan that’s starting to pay off. In July the German luxury chain lifted its profit forecast for the year. Led by CEO Daniel Grieder, a former Tommy Hilfiger executive, the revamp is focused on refreshing the main Hugo and Boss brands as part of a wider strategy to attract younger shoppers.

Other investments by Frasers have included video game retailer Game Digital, Mulberry, the luxury handbag retailer, and Jack Wills, an apparel supplier. This year Frasers bought online brand Missguided and Studio Retail Group and is attempting to take full control of Australian fashion marketplace MySale Plc.

“Frasers Group has extensive ambitions to grow the business inside and outside of the UK and is constantly exploring the potential for further expansion,” the retailer said.

By Katie Linsell and Deirdre Hipwell

Learn more:

Frasers Group Acquires Fast Fashion Retailer I Saw It First

The acquisition of I Saw It First is the latest in a series of deals by the fashion group, which also owns department store chain House of Fraser and luxury fashion retailer Flannels.

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