Frasers Group buys major MySale stake to help with clearance activities
Frasers Group said on Thursday that it has acquired a 28.7% holding in Australia-based fashion marketplace, MySale plc. The company explained that it “believes this creates an opportunity for a strategic partnership whereby end-of-line group products can be cleared via an established clearance channel. This pipeline will be further enhanced by the benefits of counter-seasonality between the European and Australian climates”.
E-commerce business MySale is listed on the London Stock Exchange but has an ‘ANZ-first’ strategy having shifted its focus in recent years to its core Australia and New Zealand market and having previously sold its UK business, Cocosa.
It's a particularly interesting move for Frasers given that it comes just over three years after the company exited its previous holding in MySale.
Frasers — which was still known as Sports Direct — sold at a time when MySale’s share price and wider business were struggling.
It had built a 4.8% stake in the firm, although the price at which it bought the shares and later sold them is unknown. At the time that its stake sale became known, MySale shares were trading for 7p each, a huge comedown from their London Stock Exchange debut when they’d traded 229p.
But they’d fallen even further from that 2019 low and closed at 1.25p on 29 June, before surging 44% on 30 June after news of the Frasers stake was released.
That took them to 1.8p, giving the entire company a market capitalisation of less than £16 million. Share buyers on Thursday were clearly hoping that Frasers will be able to help the business or even take it over completely at some point. However, the move didn't have a positive impact on its own shares and the Frasers Group share price dipped by a few percent on Thursday.
So does the renewed interest from the owner of the Sports Direct, Flannels, House of Frasers and Jack Wills chains make commercial sense?
At one point Sports Direct was MySale’s fourth-largest shareholder and the new stake of close to 30% gives it a very loud voice in the firm’s future.
Its view that the stake will help it when it comes to clearance product is a valid one. It's unclear whether it would want to take it beyond that sort of relationship and control the entire company. But with MySale’s expertise, geographical focus and its very cheap price, Frasers may have seen it as an unmissable bargain.
Frasers is well known for buying strategic stakes in businesses and is currently a major shareholder in luxury names Hugo Boss and Mulberry. In the past, as mentioned, it held a large stake in MySale, as well as in French Connection and Debenhams, three investments that didn't work out the way it might have liked.
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