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Frasers buys back Matches’ intellectual property

Chloe Burney
30 April 2024

Frasers Group has repurchased "certain intellectual property assets" of luxury retailer Matches, but not its stock, just two months after placing it into administration.

In a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday, Frasers said it reached an agreement with Matches’ joint administrators at Teneo.

Assets acquired are understood to be non-tangible, including the Matches trademark, domain names and databases of the store, according to WWD.

The group said the IP purchase was completed "following an extensive marketing process" by the administrators. Meaning, there were no other credible offers tabled for Matches.

Frasers has granted a license to Teneo to allow it to operate the business until the stock in the warehouse and shops is cleared.

Frasers shocked the industry by placing Matches into administration after purchasing it at a discounted price of £52 million back in December 2023. However, according to British law, Frasers could repurchase all or part of Matches with no strings or debts attached.

Over the past two months, it has been speculated that Frasers would buy Matches back out of administration when it was shorn of its debts. While this process has been painful for the group, it can well afford the £52 million hit and it does pave the way for its super-boutique chain Flannels to be even more dominant than it already is.

Flannels Liverpool

Independent brands have suffered the most from the collapse of Matches. According to Companies House, Matches’ unsecured creditors have estimated claims of nearly 36 million pounds.

Among the luxury brands listed, Gucci was owed £553,338, Burberry £467,525, Max Mara £438,792, Bottega Veneta £326,564, Yves Saint Laurent £323,648 and Prada £281,069. The administrators said it expects to pay in full almost £300,000 to employees and £1.2 million to HMRC.

As well as owning Flannels, Frasers holds stakes in premium brands Mulberry and Hugo Boss. Its wider retail portfolio also includes Sports Direct, House of Fraser, USC and Jack Wills, among others.

Read's feature 'Matches: What went wrong for the luxury retailer and what does the future hold?' to learn more.

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