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Sports Direct Owner Frasers Group Buys Troubled Gieves & Hawkes

Gieves & Hawkes has finally found a buyer to save itself from permanent closure.

Frasers Group — the owner of House of Fraser, Sports Direct, Flannels, Agent Provocateur, Jack Wills, and Missguided — on Friday said that it has acquired the storied tailor on Savile Row, for an undisclosed amount.

Michael Murray, CEO at Frasers Group and son-in-law of group owner Mike Ashley, said the acquisition secures “a long-term future for an iconic 250-year-old brand,” and “further adds to our portfolio of strategic investments in luxury and premium brands.”

All five Gieves & Hawkes stores will be part of the deal, including its flagship at 1 Savile Row in London. Its other stores are in Bath, Birmingham, Chester, and Winchester.

It remained unclear whether the Frasers Group has purchased the brand’s Greater China operations and licensing agreements, as that was up for sale alongside the U.K. business when its parent company went into liquidation in December 2021. That prompted fear that Gieves & Hawkes could be shut permanently if a buyer failed to show up, alongside its sister brand Kent & Curwen.

The two brands, along with the menswear brand Cerruti, were owned by Trinity Ltd., a Chinese company sold by the Hong Kong-based sourcing giant Fung Group in 2017 to the $4 billion debt-laden Chinese fashion manufacturing giant Shandong Ruyi Technology Group.

Once touted to be “China’s own LVMH,” Shandong Ruyi also was the owner of the French contemporary fashion group SMCP and textile giant Lycra. Ruyi’s shares in those companies have all been transferred to their respective creditors after Ruyi defaulted on loan repayments.

Shandong Ruyi also failed to seal its planned $600 million acquisition of Bally and cut back at Cerruti and other international brands, and has already defaulted on several investments, causing Israeli menswear brand Bagir and Japanese apparel firm Renown to file for bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile, Frasers Group has been shopping around since a slew of British retailers went into trouble due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June, it bought the fast-fashion retailer Missguided out of administration for 20 million pounds, or $25.16 million, edging out competitors like Boohoo, Shein, and JD Sports.

The company has also increased its stake in Mulberry to 37%, but said it does not intend to make an offer for the brand, for now.

The company was also said to be among the bidders for Debenhams and Arcadia.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

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