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Mike Ashley’s Frasers attempted to gatecrash AO World fundraising call

Frasers Group tried to gatecrash AO World cash call
// Frasers Group tried to gatecrash AO World’s £40m fundraising call last week reports say
// Sources speculated that the group may be exploring a relationship with AO World and may use any shareholding as leverage

Frasers, the retail conglomerate controlled by billionaire Mike Ashley, held talks about backing a £40million fundraising launched by online electrical retailer AO World last week.

City sources said Fraser was “trying to get involved” either by underwriting the deal or by buying shares.

Sources speculated that the group may be exploring a relationship with AO World and may use any shareholding as leverage. One said it may have a long-term goal of taking control of the trade.


Frasers Group owns Studio Retail which sells electrical goods and it also sells a small range through its department store chain House of Fraser.

“There was discussion about fundraising at some point and as recently as this week there was talk about Fraser’s involvement,” a source said.

Fraser has divested shares in a range of retailers, most recently upping its stake in Hugo Boss to around £750m last month.

Former CEO Ashley acquired House of Fraser after initially taking an 11% stake in 2014.

Four years later he seized control of the business shortly after offering it an ’emergency’ cash injection as it neared collapse.

Frasers Group’s acquisitions of Studio retail and Game followed similar patterns.

AO World founder and chief executive John Roberts launched a surprise fundraising Thursday to bolster its finances, following reports that credit insurers had pulled cover with the leak causing a drop in the share price.

Roberts said investors in the city had given ‘strong support’ to the company.

He said fundraising was ‘a sensible piece of financial housekeeping’ given the general economic uncertainty.

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