Frasers Group majority shareholder Mike Ashley is reportedly targeting a place on the board of Mulberry. The UK-based retail group owns a 37% stake in the luxury leathergoods firm and a report said that Ashley’s move could see him going head to head with Singapore-based Ong Beng Seng and his wife Christina who control 56% of Mulberry.
That’s all according to The Telegraph, which said Ashley’s representatives met Mulberry’s chairman Chris Roberts and CEO Thierry Andretta in recent weeks “to request a voice in the boardroom”.
It also said the request has neither been granted nor refused.
While Frasers hasn’t commented, a spokesman for Mulberry told the newspaper: “We have a constructive dialogue with all our shareholders and we do not provide public commentary on the details of these conversations.”
Frasers first invested in Mulberry in 2020 and now has a sizeable holding in the business so it’s understandable that it might be seeking boardroom representation. But the newspaper also said Frasers has become frustrated about what it sees as a lack of transparency around Mulberry’s Asia business.
The brand has had a deal since 2017 with an Ong-controlled company in Singapore to drive growth in Asia. And Frasers is believed to be seeking more transparency about the arrangement.
Mulberry reported lower sales in its latest half-year results and swung to an underlying pre-tax loss after a small profit in the prior year.
Frasers’ investment in Mulberry has come as it has ramped up its luxury operations via its Flannels luxury store chain, which also stocks the handbag brand. It has also invested in Hugo Boss.
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