Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Cycling Weekly
Cycling Weekly
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has acquired WiggleCRC for less than £10 million, reports

Image of Wiggle logo and Sports Direct Mug.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has reportedly acquired WiggleCRC.

The cycling and multisport giant was purchased by the group for less than £10 million, according to a report by The Times

Frasers Group - led by Ashley's son-in-law Michael Murray - also owns high street and online retailer Evans Cycles as well as Sports Direct, the ubiquitous sports equipment store known for its giant mugs. 

The sale comes after WiggleCRC went into administration in October last year, owing a total of £26.7million in debts to 400 creditors. News emerged in February that the retailer had axed almost all staff - approximately 450 - with just “a few.. staying to help sell off the remaining stock.”

Reports suggest that - as previously rumoured - Frasers Group has purchased the business and intellectual property of both Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, which includes in-house brands, such as dhb clothing, Vitus bikes and Lifeline accessories. 

Frasers Group acquired high street and online retailer Evans Cycles in 2018, for £8 million. In 2021, Evans made over 300 staff members redundant as well as adding the remaining employees to zero-hour contracts.

In 2023, Frasers Group took control of cycling retailer, ProBikeKit, and also agreed to purchase German chain SportScheck, a subsidiary of WiggleCRC's parent company SSU.

This "appears to be [Frasers] trying to make a blend between bricks and mortar and the actual e commerce, virtual environment," Associate Dean of Research and Innovation at the University of Salford business school Dr Gordon Fletcher told Cycling Weekly last week, when asked to comment on industry rumblings that the group was due to take over WiggleCRC.

Calling the move a "careful bit of business", he added: "they're looking at where the value really lies. And it looks like the assessment of Wiggle is that the value lies in the IP and in the brands, rather than perhaps its current way of retailing."

Cycling retailers were divided. 

Retailer JE James’ Chris James said a takeover would be a "real concern to the cycle trade", adding "I’m not sure if he’s made any real money through the cycle business he has been involved in so far, but he has deep pockets."

However, Gavin Hudson of Butternut Bikes, in north London, said "[Frasers] has purchased these brands that people didn't want to buy, and in many cases kept those brands going without running them into the ground and they haven't gone bust."

The purchase comes at a time where the cycling industry is struggling. 

Industry stalwart Mike Rice, who is currently director of London bike shop chain Balfe's Bikes, told Cycling Weekly that the “industry has had more turbulence than I’ve seen in the 30 plus years I’ve been involved in it." 

Last year, three major distributors collapsed; Moore Large, 2Pure and FLi, with key retailers Evans Cycles, Sigma Sports and Balfe’s bikes all posting losses in their latest company accounts.  

Struggling businesses have almost unanimously pointed the finger at overstocks following the Covid pandemic, Brexit, and the cost of living crisis reducing spend on luxury and sporting goods. 

A spokesperson from Frasers Group told Cycling Weekly that the company would not be commenting, but did not seek to correct information published by The Times.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.