Meadowhall: Mike Ashley considers bid to buy megamall as Sports Direct and Frasers stores prepare to open

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Deal would be Frasers Group’s biggest retail investment

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is considering a bid for Meadowhall, which is on the market for £750m, it is reported.

Frasers Group, the FTSE 100 retail group majority-owned by Ashley, is “one of a handful of parties” to have registered an interest, according to The Times.

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Mike Ashley. (Getty Images)Mike Ashley. (Getty Images)
Mike Ashley. (Getty Images) | Getty Images

The mega-mall was put up for sale last year by its owners, British Land and Norges Bank, with a reported asking price of £750 million. Both British Land and Frasers declined to comment.

The news comes as the business prepares to open a Frasers department store and a Sports Direct in the former Debenhams unit at the end of The Avenue. It already operates a Flannels luxury brand store and GAME computer game shop at the centre, which has 290 shops and 24m annual visitors.

The Times says Frasers Group last year bought The Mall in Luton for £58m and the Overgate Centre in Dundee for £30m. It also bought Junction 32, an outlet shopping centre near Castleford, West Yorkshire, for £50m.

At the time Frasers, in which Ashley, 59, owns a stake of about 70 per cent, said those acquisitions reflected its “confidence in the future of the UK high street”.

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Meadowhall is believed to have halved in value over the last 10 years. The Star reported in 2012 how Norges paid £348m for its stake in a deal which, including debt, valued Meadowhall at £1.525bn. 

In November 2021, British Land confirmed plans to use 13 acres of land for warehousing and delivery hubs as online sales continued to soar. At the time it had outline planning permission on development plots covering 571,000 sq ft.

A British Land spokeswoman told The Star they were still looking to secure an occupier before moving forward with the scheme.

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