BusinessShein May Be Lining Up Missguided Deal In First...

Shein May Be Lining Up Missguided Deal In First U.K. Brand Acquisition


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For a company that was infamously publicity shy for most of the first decade of its existence, Chinese apparel colossus Shein seems rarely to be out of the news right now.

From ramping up its U.S. operations to a global sustainability charm offensive to – the big one – it’s will it/won’t it float on the New York Stock Exchange, Shein has been taking up column inches as rapidlly as it has been dropping its latest Gen Z hauls.

And according to U.K. broadcaster Sky News, it could be set to make its next acquisition if reports from the U.K. ring true. The Chinese fashion giant is apparently in talks to purchase online apparel label Missguided from serial retail purchaser Mike Ashley, a man who is no stranger to the press himself.

Ashley was the mastermind behind the phenomenal rise of multi-brand empire Frasers Group, before handing over the day-to-day reins to son-in-law Michael Murray as Frasers chief executive.

Sky reported over the weekend that Shein and Frasers have been in detailed negotiations over a potential deal, which would be Shein’s first acquisition of a U.K. fashion brand.

It follows quick on the heels of Shein’s tie-up with Sparc Group, a joint venture between Authentic Brands Group and U.S. mall giant Simon Property Group
. As part of that deal, Sparc’s Forever 21 fashion brand gained access to the global Shein platform, while Shein is set to trial shop-in-shops and other services within Forever 21 stores in a low-risk foray into physical retailing.

As part of the U.S. deal, Shein also took a one-third stake in Sparc Group, while in turn Sparc took a minority interest in Shein.

Shein And Frasers Talks

Sources told Sky News that Shein and Frasers had been in discussions for some time about a possible transaction, although they said it was currently unclear whether it would go through successfully. Any agreement would likely include Missguided’s brand and intellectual property, with its head office retained by Frasers, and could be structured in a similar equity exchange to the Sparc arrangement.

Founded by entrepreneur Nitin Passi in 2008, during a skyrocketing ascent Missguided became infamous for its environmentally controversial flash sales, such as offering a black dress for little over a dollar.

The move saw it increasingly panned by critics over its lack of sustainable responsibility as fast fashion faced a vociferous backlash over its approach to disposable apparel.

The online retailer opened flagship stores as its star shone, but its foray into physical retail and popularity with Gen Z faded fast and although it attracted investment from Alteri Investors in late 2021, the company went into administration in the spring of 2022 as losses overwhelmed it.

Frasers snapped up the brand – which had been a rumored target of Shein at the time – as it continued to acquire predominantly distressed brands including its original business Sports Direct, plus Evans Cycles, Game, department store chain House of Fraser and Jack Wills, while more recently expanding into Australia.

Shein IPO Rumors Continue

Frasers also owns fashion brands Missy Empire and ISawItFirst, which could have encouraged its willingness to determine that Missguided is superfluous to its needs.

For its part, Shein is now headquartered in Singapore and rumors of it going public in the U.S. have been longstanding, with many analysts believing it will finally take the plunge within the next 12 months, with its most recent funding round believed to have valued the business at about $66 billion.

Frasers and Shein are yet to comment on the Sky News report.



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