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Next and Frasers Group are battling it out for troubled Ted Baker

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Next and Frasers Group have emerged as potential buyers for Ted Baker’s European retail business, signaling interest in rescuing the fashion label following its recent government collapse.

Both companies are in discussions with administrators from Teneo Advisory to explore the possibility of acquiring all or part of Ted Baker’s activities.

The collapse of No Ordinary Designer Label Limited, Ted Baker’s retail and e-commerce business in Britain and Europe, last month sparked interest from heavyweights Frasers Group, led by Mike Ashley, and Next, led by Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise. Authentic Brands Group, which acquired Ted Baker for £211m in 2022, attributed the collapse to significant damage incurred during a partnership with AARC, a Dutch company that oversees Ted Baker’s UK and European operations.

While Ted Baker’s government resulted in the closure of several stores and layoffs, potential buyers Next and Frasers Group are exploring options to save some stores under a future deal. Sources suggest that both companies have a limited time frame to submit bids, with an announcement expected within the next three weeks.

Next and Frasers Group have developed into active players in the retail acquisition landscape, with Next acquiring brands such as FatFace, Joules and Cath Kidston in recent years. Frasers Group, on the other hand, has expanded its portfolio with acquisitions such as Matchesfashion, Wiggle and Jack Wills, demonstrating a strategic focus on diversifying its retail offering.

Next and Frasers Group’s interest in Ted Baker underlines the ongoing challenges the fashion retailer has faced since the departure of founder Ray Kelvin in 2019. Despite subsequent leadership changes and transformation efforts, Ted Baker has struggled to regain its position in the market. Its acquisition by Authentic Brands Group in 2022 marked a shift to a private, licensed business model, but even so, the company’s fortunes have continued to decline.

As Ted Baker navigates administration, the prospect of acquisition by established retail players such as Next and Frasers Group offers a glimmer of hope for the brand’s future, potentially providing a path to revitalization and sustainable growth in the retail landscape.