British retail tycoon Mike Ashley has stepped in to rescue online fashion company Missguided after it collapsed into administration.
Frasers Group, which also owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, on Wednesday confirmed it had bought the intellectual property of Missguided, and its sister brand Mennace, for about £20 million ($25.2m).
Michael Murray, chief executive of Frasers Group, said Missguided's “digital-first” approach would benefit the wider company.
“We are delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided, which will benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform and our operational excellence,” he said.
“Missguided’s digital-first approach to the latest trends in women’s fashion will bring additional expertise to the wider Frasers Group.”
The deal was announced hours after it emerged that the fast fashion retailer had called in administrators from Teneo after it was issued with a winding-up petition by suppliers owed millions of pounds.
The insolvency specialists had been charged with selling the business and assets of the Manchester-based retailer, which employed about 330 people.
Missguided launched its first store in the Middle East in 2019 when it opened a site at The Dubai Mall. It also has a presence in the US, Australia, France and Germany.
The retailer, founded in 2009, has been hit by supply chain costs, soaring inflation and “softening” consumer confidence in an increasingly volatile market, Teneo said.
The announcement came hours after Primark executive John Bason said he regretted his company’s decision to raise its prices. In April, the retailer said it would increase prices on its autumn and winter collection amid rising costs for businesses around the world.
Mr Bason, who is the finance director for Primark’s parent company AB Foods, told the BBC: “I do regret that we have to put some prices up. It is a reflection of the scale of the inflation that we’re seeing.”
Before the sale was announced, Teneo said there had been a “high level of interest”.
“As we continue to see, the retail trading environment in the UK remains extremely challenging,” said Gavin Maher, senior managing director of Teneo.
“The joint administrators will now seek to conclude a sale of the business and assets, for which there continues to be a high level of interest from a number of strategic buyers.
“We thank all employees and other key stakeholders for their support at this difficult time.”
Last autumn, Missguided was saved in a takeover by investment firm Alteri, which announced redundancies in December as part of a turnaround plan. But in April the retailer confirmed it was searching for a new buyer as founder Mr Nitin Passi stepped down as chief executive amid continued financial pressure.