Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is in talks to sell its Missguided clothing brand to online fashion giant Shein.
Talks about a deal, which were first reported by Sky News, come only a year after Frasers took over the brand.
Frasers Group bought Missguided for £20m last year after the online fashion retailer collapsed into administration.
Shein, which was founded in China in 2008, is a global giant in the world of fast fashion.
According to Sky, a deal is likely to see Shein buy Missguided’s brand and other intellectual property, while the head office is retained by Frasers.
Manchester-based Missguided was founded by Nitin Passi in 2009 and grew to become one of the UK’s biggest online fashion players.
But after suffering from supply chain problems, rising freight costs and increasing competition from rivals, it fell into administration in May 2022, before being picked up by Frasers Group.
Frasers – which owns the Mike Ashley-founded Sports Direct chain – has expanded rapidly by buying brands that have fallen into trouble. including Game, Evans Cycles, Jack Wills and Sofa.com.
While Mike Ashley is no longer Frasers’ chief executive, with son-in-law Michael Murray taking over the role, he owns a majority stake in the firm.
Shein – which now has its headquarters in Singapore – saw sales surge during the Covid pandemic when lockdowns led to a jump in online shopping.
It was valued at about $66bn earlier this year, although that was lower than a previous valuation of around $100bn.
There has been speculation that Shein will seek to list its shares in the US.
However, in May a group of US lawmakers called for Shein to be investigated over claims that people from China’s mostly Muslim Uyghur population were use as forced labour to make some of the clothes it sells.
Human rights groups and Western governments, including the US and UK, have accused China of committing crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs.
In response, a spokeswoman for Shein said : “We have zero tolerance for forced labour.
“Our suppliers must adhere to a strict code of conduct that is aligned to the International Labour Organization’s core conventions.”