Frasers Group buy Studio Retail out of administration
Studio Retail Group only formally appointed administrators this week but it’s already been sold. And the new owner is… no prizes for guessing that it’s Frasers Group. The Mike Ashley-led retail giant already owned an almost-30% stake pre-administration and had been widely touted as the most likely purchaser.
Frasers said Friday that it has acquired the group’s online retailer “Studio Retail Limited and certain other assets of Studio Retail Group plc”.
Studio Retail Limited hadn’t been in administration, but it had temporarily stopped taking orders and the deal “will allow trading operations to resume, ensuring continuity for suppliers, the group's over 1,500 employees, pension holders and customers”.
Frasers has paid £26.8 million for the business and has also agreed to act as guarantor of the SRG group pension scheme.
It said that as it “seeks to elevate its customer journey including a flexible repayment proposition, the acquisition of SRL will provide Frasers Group with expertise and synergies that will accelerate this ambition. Frasers Group is also pleased to have rescued another business out of administration and saved approximately 1,500 jobs”.
It means Studios Retail’s London Stock Exchange listing will be cancelled and it will now form part of the much larger Frasers operation that takes in major retail names such as Sports Direct, Flannels and House of Fraser.
Studio’s administrators said they’re “of the opinion that the transaction was in the best interests of the company's creditors as a whole”.
It's certainly an interesting development and could be a good deal for Frasers given that Studio Retail had previously been on what appeared to be an upward trajectory. The company was increasingly upbeat last year until it was faced with issues such as over-optimistic ordering and supply chain problems. This led to a cash shortfall while it sold-through the surplus stock and it had been unable to raise the temporary finance it needed from its banks.
It operates in a more value-focused sector than much of its new owner’s operations, but that's a sector that has been extremely buoyant in recent periods. And it also has a consumer credit operation that’s clearly valuable.
The company sells fashion, home and electrical products with the option of flexible payment terms. It has about 2.5 million customers and made sales of close to £600 million and profits of £41.7 million last year. Frasers had tried to take it over in 2019.
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