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Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group sells entire French Connection stake

Tom Shearsmith
08 February 2021

Mike Ashley's Frasers Group has sold its 24.93% stake in French Connection after the fashion brand was scouted by two potential buyers.

French Connection told investors it had received early proposals over deals after its shares surged by about 40% on Thursday amid market speculation, rising to around 65% by Friday afternoon.

In a new filing on Monday morning, French Connection revealed that Frasers Group has now sold its entire stake, having been the second-largest shareholder in the business.

It has now sold its holding of 96,612,934 shares, although the move sent French Connection shares higher once again.

Frasers Group bought the stake in 2017 as part of a growth plan which has seen it since buy shares in brands including Hugo Boss, and even take over whole businesses completely like Psyche.

French Connection, which was valued at around £28 million on Monday morning, received one approach from retail investor Spotlight Brands, with backing from restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers.

Spotlight has backed British brands including fitness-focused Sweaty Betty, while Gordon Brothers acquired the Laura Ashley brand last year following its administration.

French Connection said it also received another potential proposal from brand investment platform Go Global Retail.

In December, French Connection said it had seen “encouraging” sales after some stores were able to reopen briefly before the latest national lockdown came into force in January 2021.

Shares in French Connection were 15.9% higher at 29.8p in early trading. recently published a feature asking why Frasers Group and JD Sports are so interested in independent retailers?

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