Home Estate Planning Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group significantly ups stake in model trains maker Hornby

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group significantly ups stake in model trains maker Hornby

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Mike Ashley’s retail empire Frasers Group has significantly increased its stake in model railways manufacturer Hornby.

The owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser has acquired more than 11 million shares in the Kent-based company, taking its total holdings to more than 15 million, or 8.9 per cent.

More than 70 per cent of Hornby’s shares are held by Phoenix Asset Management Partners, with Artemis Investment Management the next largest shareholder on 16.2 per cent.

The investment from Frasers Group means it is now Hornby’s third largest shareholder.

Chris Wootton, CFO of Frasers Group, said: “Frasers Group has a vision to build the planet’s most admired and compelling brand ecosystem.

“Hornby’s portfolio of unique heritage brands are already part of Game’s product offer and we look forward to exploring opportunities to further leverage our scale in retail logistics and distribution.

“This is consistent with our strategy of pursuing strategic interests to enhance value for all stakeholders.”

Olly Raeburn, CEO of Hornby, added: “Frasers Group has built a powerful ecosystem through its brand partners, scaled shared services, and distribution channels.

“We have long admired their approach to merchandising and logistics and welcome them as a supportive shareholder.

“We look forward to exploring commercial opportunities in working together to unlock the full potential of Hornby’s much loved brands.”

Hornby can trace its roots back to 1901 in Liverpool when founder Frank Hornby received a patent for his Meccano construction toy.

The company currently has a market capitalisation of more than £35m and posted a revenue of £23.8m for the six months to the end of September 2023 and a pre-tax loss of £5m.

The investment in Hornby is the latest such move by Frasers Group following its building sizeable stakes in fellow London-listed companies Currys, AO, N Brown, Boohoo and Asos.

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