Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group strengthens grip on AO as it increases stake again

AO is headquartered in Bolton. (Photographer: (Jason Alden) www.jasonalden.com 0781 063 1642)www.jasonalden.com
0781 063 1642)

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group now owns almost a quarter of electricals seller AO after the retail giant further upped its stake.

The owner of House of Fraser and Sports Direct now has a holding of 24.7 per cent in the Bolton-headquartered company, according to a new filing with the London Stock Exchange.

The Derbyshire-headquartered group had previously owned just over 23 per cent of AO’s shares.

Other major shareholders in the company include Camelot Capital Partners (20.4 per cent) and CEO and founder John Roberts (18.3 per cent).

Frasers Group first invested in AO in June 2023 when it acquired a stake of almost 20 per cent in a £75m move.

The latest investment comes after Frasers Group begun an £80m share buyback and increased its stake in Manchester-based fashion group, N Brown.

In November 2023, AO raised its profit guidance despite revealing a fall in revenue.

At the time, the business said a decision to stamp out unprofitable sales led to a 12 per cent dip in revenue during the interim.

But adjusted EBITDA surged 205 per cent to £27m up from £9m in the same period last year, as the group was bolstered by a simplification of its operations including exiting a trial with supermarket Tesco last year. 

Frasers Group has been steadily increasing its stakes in the likes of Boohoo, Currys, N Brown, AO and Asos in recent months.

Last month, City A.M. reported that Studio Retail surged back into the black after recovering from losses of over £75m as it collapsed into administration.

The Lancashire-based group was rescued out of administration by Frasers Group in 2022.

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