Mike Ashley eyes bid for luxury handbag maker Mulberry as he snaps up 4.3m shares for a 36.8% stake
Model Alexa Chung with a Mulberry handbag
Mike Ashley is weighing up a bid for Mulberry after his retail empire raised its stake in the luxury handbag maker. The tycoon’s Frasers Group, which runs Sports Direct and House of Fraser, bought 4.3m shares at 150p each to increase its ownership of the Somerset-based firm to 36.8 per cent.
Under takeover rules, any group which takes a stake of more than 30 per cent of a business is required to make an offer to buy the whole business.
But the Takeover Panel said that Frasers does not have to place such a bid as Challice, Singaporean billionaire Christina Ong’s investment vehicle, owns 56 per cent of Mulberry. Despite this, Frasers said it was ‘still reserving its right to make a voluntary offer for the company’.
As such, the Takeover Panel insisted Frasers makes a takeover offer by December 17 or walks away under so-called ‘put up or shut up’ rules to stop bid targets from being under siege for a prolonged period. Mulberry shares rose 1.1 per cent. Shares in Frasers, where Ashley is chief executive and has a 63.5 per cent stake, fell 0.3pc.