Mike Ashley's Frasers raises Mulberry stake to 37% and considers offer

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has raised its stake in Mulberry to just under 37% and could make an offer for the British luxury brand, it said on Thursday.

Frasers, formerly Sports Direct, increased its Mulberry holding by buying 4.3 million shares from Kaupthing ehf at 150 pence per share.

It said the Takeover Panel had granted Frasers a waiver from making a mandatory cash offer for Mulberry because Mulberry’s biggest shareholder Challice Ltd has a 56% stake.

“Frasers Group is, however, still reserving its right to make a voluntary offer for the company,” it said.

Under panel rules it has until Dec. 17 to announce a firm intention to make an offer.

Frasers said any offer would be made in cash.

Ashley’s long-stated desire is to make Frasers the “Selfridges of sport”, emulating the status of the London department store.

Buying other businesses and strategic stakes forms part of that plan.

Last month Mulberry forecast reduced losses in its 2020-21 year.

Shares in Mulberry were down 0.8% at 0959 GMT. Shares in Frasers were up 0.3%.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young