LONDON — Asos has won the bidding race, and on Monday finalized the acquisition of Arcadia’s Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.
The price of the deal was 330 million pounds, according to Arcadia’s administrators at Deloitte, which confirmed the sale.
The online giant bought the brands, intellectual property and inventory — but not the store network, in a deal that mirrors Boohoo’s acquisition last week of Debenhams.
Up to 300 employees working across the labels’ design, retail partnerships and buying departments will transfer to Asos, according to Deloitte. The acquisition risks the loss of thousands of jobs at the brands’ approximately 70 physical stores across the U.K.
Asos, which sells Topshop on its multi-brand platform, said the overlap between its own customer base and that of Topshop was part of the reasoning behind the deal, as was the fashion retailer’s established presence in international markets including the U.S. and Germany.
“The acquisition will help accelerate our multi-brand platform strategy,” said Nick Beighton, Asos chief executive officer. “We have been central to driving (the Arcadia brands’) recent growth online and, under our ownership, we will develop them further, using our design, marketing, technology and logistics expertise, and working closely with key strategic retail partners in the U.K. and around the world.”
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Asos has laid out a plan about how it wants to use the new brands in its portfolio and how it will transform them into “digital-first” companies. It wants to integrate them onto the Asos platform; “elevate” the digital experience; and strengthen branding through refreshed design and marketing.
The transaction will be completed on Feb. 4.
Arcadia filed for bankruptcy at the close of 2020, and Deloitte quickly sold off one if its brands, Evans, to Australia’s City Chic Collective for 23 million pounds.
The sale of Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT to Asos leaves Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis as the remaining labels still in need of a buyer. Boohoo, which purchased Debenhams last month, has confirmed it’s in exclusive talks to purchase those brands, with a deal that could come as early as this week.
Following Boohoo’s acquisition of Debenhams, this is the second major deal set to transform the British high street.
Online players like Asos and Boohoo have seen dramatic rises in revenues in the last year, as a result of the pandemic and prolonged store closures — despite ongoing criticism about their unsustainable business models and lack of transparency when it comes to workers’ rights.
“Even once lockdown measures are eased, the ease of e-commerce will keep many shoppers online, and out of stores. All of this means that Asos and Boohoo are in strong financial positions, currently and certainly in the future, to consider acquisitions. We could see these two retail titans reshaping online retail via their sprawling digital marketplaces,” said Chris Elliott, head of market insights at Edge by Ascential.
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