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Frasers Building Fast-Fashion Empire

Frasers Group plc is going deeper into the world of digital fast fashion.

The Sports Direct and Jack Willis owner said on Thursday it will integrate its new acquisition I Saw It First into Missguided, the Shein rival it recently rescued from bankruptcy for $25.2 million.

It pointed out that I Saw It First, which plays in the same space as Fashion Nova, reaches more than 5 million consumers and has “rapidly grown its digital presence since its launch in 2017.”

“I Saw It First will benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform and from the integration with Frasers’ recently acquired business, Missguided,” it said of the digital fast-fashion purveyor that will be out from under a bankruptcy administrator and a standalone business under Frasers next month.

Last month, Frasers also took strategic stakes in two fashion firms. Through the acquisition of common stock shares of Hugo Boss and an additional stake in the equity shares via the sale of put options, Frasers has an aggregate interest in the fashion brand totaling 770 million pounds ($932.9 million). Frasers has been increasing its investment stake in the German luxury brand since last year.

Frasers also now holds a 28.7 percent stake in the Australian-based fashion marketplace, MySale plc, which connects global buyers and sellers to Australian and New Zealand e-commerce sites. The strategic partnership could help more Frasers’ end-of-line products through an established clearance channel.

Mergers and acquisitions has been an active sector in the U.K. in recent weeks.

The U.K.-sustainable bag brand Troubadour last week acquired Dutch premium tech accessories label Mujjo. Transaction details were not disclosed, but the acquisition is the first for Troubadour, which recently was awarded the highest B Corp score of any U.K.-based apparel, footwear or accessory brand.

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“While many companies in the tech accessory space mostly focus on marketing and paid customer acquisition, Mujjo has built a loyal following by prioritizing product development and customer experience—which is the same approach we’ve taken with Troubadour,” Troubadour co-founder Abel Samet said. “Add to that the matched emphasis on innovation, aesthetics, and attention to detail, and our brands are very well aligned.”

Troubadour’s annual sales are running in the mid-seven figures, with under $5 million raised to date. The company plans to grow by acquiring brands with an established customer base. A source told Sourcing Journal that Troubadour is “actively seeking” new takeover targets.

Last month also saw the sale of British fashion and homeware brand Cath Kidston to restructuring specialist HIlco Capital from Baring Private Equity Asia. And contemporary men’s and women’s fashion retailer Ted Baker is still said to be weighing its options after a potential buyer—believed to be Reebok owner Authentic Brands Group—walked away from any possible deal. “Ted Baker said at the time that the reason was “not linked to its due diligence review of the company.” In fact, Ted Baker said earlier this year that its team has been working on a turnaround plan which is showing improvement in both sales and operations.