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Frasers Group acquires Matches for 52 million pounds

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Frasers Group acquires Matches Credits: Matchesfashion, Carl Tallents

Frasers Group has acquired the luxury online fashion retailer Matches for 52 million pounds (66 million dollars). The sale represents a significant loss for Apax Partners, which purchased the business in 2017 during a bidding war when its valuation stood at 800 million dollars.

While the exact financial details of Apex Partners' acquisition of Matchesfashion.com have not been publicly disclosed, founders Ruth and Tom Chapman, along with venture capital firms Scottish Equity Partners and Highland Europe, retained minority stakes.

The acquisition is both a significant achievement and a test for Frasers, owned by Mike Ashley, whose strategy to elevate the company in the higher fashion segment led to the acquisition of Flannels stores, Tessuti, and Cricket – all independents catering to a luxury fashion customer. This marks the group’s first venture into a large international online luxury business.

Despite several leadership changes, Matches' current chief executive, Nick Beighton, is expected to stay on following the sale. A statement from the company mentioned they are 'working closely with the Frasers team to develop a strategy to successfully build on the underlying strength of the business while rapidly unlocking synergies.'

Gross assets of the loss-making company were approximately 170 million pounds at 31 January 2023, the last accounting reference date for which information is available.

Commenting on the acquisition, Michael Murray, Chief Executive Officer of Frasers, said: "Matches has always been a leader in online luxury retail and has incredible relationships with its brand partners. This acquisition will strengthen Frasers' luxury offering, further deepening our relationships and accelerating our mission to provide consumers with access to the world's best brands. Whilst the global luxury environment is softer, we are confident that, by leveraging our industry-leading ecosystem, we will unlock synergies and drive profitable growth for Matches."

Nick Beighton, Chief Executive Officer of Matches, commented: "Since I joined Matches last year, we have made good progress, sharpening our brand and product curation and improving the day-to-day operations of the business. As a result, we have seen a resilient trading performance despite the challenging economic backdrop. Being part of Frasers, with their utter commitment to luxury, will give this business access to greater scale, best-in-class retail expertise and the financial stability it needs to more effectively deliver for our brand partners and our customers."

Frasers Group