Ashley’s Frasers buys Studio Retail on the cheap

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has bought Accrington-based home shopping firm Studio Retail Group — formerly known as Findel — out of administration for £26.8 million.

The deal saves about 1,500 jobs.

Ashley’s Frasers Group had been the biggest shareholder in Studio Retail Group at about 29%.

“Frasers Group announces that it has acquired digital retailer, Studio Retail Limited (SRL) and certain other assets of Studio Retail Group plc (in administration) (SRG) …” said Frasers in a stock exchange statement.

“The consideration for the transaction comprised cash and the release of SRG from its liabilities to the lending banks under its revolving credit facilities resulting in a cash payment by Frasers Group to the lenders in the amount of £26.8 million.

“The company also agreed to act as guarantor in respect of certain payments in respect of the SRG group pension scheme to the satisfaction of the trustees.

“As Frasers Group 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.”

On February 14, AJ Bell Financial Analyst Danni Hewson had speculated: “Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is the biggest shareholder in Studio Retail with a 28.89% position and his tactic has often been to wait until a retailer goes into administration before pouncing with a cut-price deal.

“He’s a shrewd operator and would rather wait until a company is on its final breath before coming in with a lifesaving offer.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.