Mike Ashley is stepping down from the board of Frasers Group Plc, the company he founded under the name Mike Ashley Sports in 1982, after his son-in-law Michael Murray took hold of the reins earlier this year.
Retail tycoon Ashley will not seek re-election at next month’s AGM, Frasers said in a statement Tuesday. Ashley will be available in an advisory capacity and will provide the company, which owns Sports Direct, with an additional £100 million ($114 million) of funding on the same terms as its borrowing facilities.
Murray, 33, took over as chief executive officer in May, succeeding his father-in-law Ashley. Murray married Ashley’s daughter, Anna, this summer.
Since joining, Murray has focused on upgrading stores, and the extra funding from Ashley is intended to support this strategy of investment in retailing. Under Ashley, Frasers has grown from the main Sports Direct brand which once was best known for a pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap approach to retail. The group now includes premium brands at Flannels and House of Fraser.
So far the company hasn’t lost any of its acquisitive flair since Ashley stepped back. Earlier this year Frasers bought online brand Missguided in a £20 million deal, raised its stake in German fashion retailer Hugo Boss AG and acquired a 28.7 percent stake in Australian fashion marketplace MySale Plc. The company also bought Studio Retail Group in February.
By Katie Linsell
Frasers, owner of House of Fraser and Sports Direct, forecast adjusted profit before tax of £450 million to £500 million ($600 million) for the next financial year.