Mike Ashley: who is Frasers Group CEO, what companies does he own, and net worth - as he buys out Missguided

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Mike Ashley owns a range of businesses - from sportswear to furniture

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group bought out of administration fast fashion business Missguided, following the company’s collapse into administration.

Frasers Group has earned a reputation for high profile business dealings, and Ashley has now added Missguided to his growing list of businesses.

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But who is Mike Ashley, and what is his net worth? Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Mike Ashley?

Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley and his ex-wife Linda arrive to attend a select committee hearing at Portcullis house on June 7, 2016 in London, England.Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley and his ex-wife Linda arrive to attend a select committee hearing at Portcullis house on June 7, 2016 in London, England.
Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley and his ex-wife Linda arrive to attend a select committee hearing at Portcullis house on June 7, 2016 in London, England. | Carl Court/Getty Images

Ashley, 57, is a British billionaire born in Walsall, Staffordshire in 1964. He was the CEO of Sports Direct, Newcastle United owner and is the current CEO of Frasers Group.

In 1988, aged 24, Ashley married Swedish-born economics graduate, Linda Jerlmyr.

Together, the couple have three children, but they divorced in 2003. Their divorce led to one of the biggest settlements in British legal history with Ashley reportedly handing over the family home, multiple properties and assets that had a total worth of £50m.

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Ashley is protective of his private life and is often seen in casual clothes, carrying his items in a plastic carrier bag rather than a briefcase.

What is his net worth?  

According to the Sunday Times Rich List in 2021, Ashley is the 61st richest person in the UK, with a net worth of £2.718 billion.

What businesses and brands does Mike Ashley own? 

In 1982, Ashley opened his first sport and ski store in MaidenheadIn 1982, Ashley opened his first sport and ski store in Maidenhead
In 1982, Ashley opened his first sport and ski store in Maidenhead | Carl Court/Getty Images

In 1982, Ashley opened his first sport and ski store in Maidenhead, followed by a few stores in London with a £10,000 start-up loan from his family.

The chain expanded quickly, and by the late 1990s, Ashley rebranded and called the chain Sports Soccer, opening over 100 stores across the UK. Sports Soccer became a limited liability company in 1999.

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The company, now called Sports Direct International Plc has over 400 stores in the UK, with more stores open in Ireland, Belgium and Slovenia.

Sports Direct International then bought sports equipment brands Donnay, and later Dunlop Slazenger for £40m.

Ashley’s company  also acquired outdoor gear manufacturer Karrimor, clothing brand Kangol, boxing brand Lonsdale and sports equipment brand Umbro. The majority of these brands were bought from distressed sellers, similarly to Missguided.

Ashley also has a 29.4% stake in British outdoor retailer, Blacks Outdoor Retail ltd.

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Ashley was CEO of Sports Direct from 1982 to 2018, before the group rebranded to Frasers Group.

In October 2014, Ashley also owned an 8.92% stake in Rangers International Football Club (RIFC).  He was denied increasing his shareholding in RIFC to 29.9% as he already owned a large amount of Newcastle United shares, and this would be a conflict of interest.

What is Frasers Group plc? 

Formerly known as Sports Direct International plc, Frasers Group is named after the department store chain House of Fraser.

Other retailers owned by the company are Jack Wills, Game, Lillywhites and Evans Cycles.

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Ashley bought House of Fraser when it went into administration in 2018, for £90m cash, and had an 11% stake in the company.

The brands’ Everlast, Lonsdale, Slazenger and No Fear all belong to Fraser Group plc, making the company the largest sports-good retailer in the UK, operating roughly 670 stores worldwide.

When did Mike Ashley buy Newcastle United? 

Newcastle United’s former owner Mike Ashley is pictured in the stands before the game against West Bromwich Albion during their Premiership football match at The Hawthorns in Birmingham, on February 7, 2009.Newcastle United’s former owner Mike Ashley is pictured in the stands before the game against West Bromwich Albion during their Premiership football match at The Hawthorns in Birmingham, on February 7, 2009.
Newcastle United’s former owner Mike Ashley is pictured in the stands before the game against West Bromwich Albion during their Premiership football match at The Hawthorns in Birmingham, on February 7, 2009. | CHRIS RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images

Ashley bought Sir John Hall’s 41.6% stake in Newcastle United on 23 May 2007 via his company St James Holdings, and had a 100% acquisition of the club in July 2007, paying around £134m.

On 7 October 2021, Ashley sold Newcastle United for £300m to companies PCP Capital Partners, RB Sports & Media and Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

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Why has Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group bought out Missguided?

Missguided has been having issues several years before falling into administration. Frasers Group bought the intellectual property of the retailer and sister brand Mennace for around £20m, and said it intends to run Missgudied as a ‘standalone’ brand within its group.

Michael Murray, chief executive of Frasers Group, said: "We are delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided, which will benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform and our operational excellence.

"Missguided’s digital-first approach to the latest trends in women’s fashion will bring additional expertise to the wider Frasers Group."

NationalWorld has written an explainer delving deep into the Missguided administration, which can be read here.

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