Wiggle CRC

Wiggle Chain Reaction Deal Falls Through: Mike Ashley Buys Name and IP

by 258

Last time we reported on the Wiggle CRC administration it looked like the company could be bought as a going concern, with a number of buyers apparently interested. Now, sources say that’s all off the cards, and today we understand there has been a mass laying off of staff across the company. We’re hearing that the company will live on in name only, with the brands and (Intellectual Property) IP being bought by Mike Ashley although this has yet to be confirmed.

We have also heard today that Wiggle has made the majority of its 450 staff redundant.

One industry insider said, “So Wiggle/CRC/Hotlines/Nukeproof etc are all gone in the last hour. Apparently Mike Ashley has bought the IP to it all.

One source, who no longer has a job at CRC said: ‘The day the [Wiggle/CRC] “merger” was announced we were doomed. They dismantled everything that was good about CRC, piece by piece.
Nobody expected Wiggle to go under, however, that’s what happens when corporate greed takes over.’

This is a breaking story and we will update as we get more information.

If all this proves to be true, what’s next?

Mike Ashley owns Frasers Group, which already owns Evans Cycles. This group has something of a reputation for buying up companies in administration. We had thought that buying the whole WiggleCRC business could increase their online capacity and improve direct purchasing power from factories. However, we’re hearing that Mike Ashley has just bought the IP and names. At this stage we’re not sure of the extent of the purchase, but within the WiggleCRC business the bike brands Nukeproof, Vitus and Ragley are registered. Whether we’ll see the actual IP for bikes coming over to the Fraser Group and Gigas or Sentiers popping up in Evans remains to be seen. It might just be bike shaped objects bearing the brand names – as we’ve seen with Muddy Fox, for example.

As well as bike brands, WiggleCRC has many in house brands, some of which like DHB have gained an established reputation. There’s also running gear, paddlesport and watersports stuff – all of which might sit well in a Sports Direct store, another part of the Frasers Group.

In recent days there have been some signs that things were not going to plan, with more Nukeproof athletes announcing their departure from the brand. Then today, Wednesday 21st February, many staff were let go – we’re not clear if it’s all staff, or almost all. We’ve reached out to as many contacts as we can – hardly a pleasant task when you know they’re likely to be reeling from redundancy news – so we’ll update you as we hear more. We think an official press release can’t be far away, now that staff have been let go.

Singletrack World Weekly Word

Our regular weekly editorial newsletter comes complete with editorial content you won’t find anywhere else. Sign up now to get the full Singletrack picture in your inbox every week.

More Reviews

Abus AirDrop MIPS helmet review

The Abus AirDrop MIPS is a well made and designed helmet that offers great levels of…

Book Review: Potholes and Pavements

Some years ago I met Laura Laker and she seemed to me to be an essentially…

Orbea Laufey H-LTD review

It's just as well the Orbea Laufey H-LTD handles so well because if we turn our…

Schwalbe Tacky Chan review

The Schwalbe Tacky Chan has a surprise up its sleeve: it's less draggy and tiring on…

Author Profile Picture
Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

More posts from Hannah

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 258 total)
  • Wiggle Chain Reaction Deal Falls Through: Mike Ashley Buys Name and IP
  • jimfrandisco
    Free Member

    but the whole concept right from the sole trader to the SME to this sort of deal. You are basically selling the brand recognition and the reputation (and maybe the client list) to a totally different person or organisation who have done nothing to deserve it. It’s tantamount to fraud in my books. You are basically conning the unaware consumer that the new owners/operators deserve to be trusted the same as the old ones. It’s a bag of shite.

    Couldn’t agree more. This has happened to countless brands under SportsDirect, Karrimor already mentioned above.

    Buy in the last of the good stuff people trust, then downgrade the production and manufacturing to the usual sweat shops, until it eventually gives up.

    M.Ashley might not be doing anything wrong and it was for the owners to save etc, but the whole practice still stinks.

    hot_fiat
    Full Member

    Gutting. So sorry for the staff, team members and anyone sponsored by them.

    convert
    Full Member

    You can’t have you cake and eat it

    Of course I can. I’ve lost a fast food outlet, but I’ve still got Sigma, Merlin, SJS, Spa, Brixton, and then tredz, the german mob and BikeINN if I’m desperate. All significantly better for me than anything I could call a LBS (although I appreciate Sigma, SJS, Spa, Brixton and even Merlin are someone’s LBS, just not mine – although ironically Butler’s Cycles was my LBS at one point.

    But local shops are not required just because your knowledge is larger than the average consumer.

    To me they are not, no. And haven’t been for decades. For others, they might be great – maybe. I’ve overheard so much terrible terrible advice come out of the mouths of randoms on the shop floor’s of LBSs on the rare occasions I step in one that I’d doubt it’s always as good as the recipient might think.

    ravingdave
    Full Member

    Oh man! I loved CRC. As far as i was concerned, they were my LBS. Lots of great advice when added, huge choice, excellent prices. Nothing comes (came) close to.

    I used to use Evans a lot, but after Mike Ashley got his claws in they went seriously downhill.

    On a practical, i was about to buy a brand-x dropper post. Is it possible to buy? Will i reveive it? Will Mike Ashley get my money? How does it work now; if at all?

    chipps
    Full Member

    You know that banner at the top of the home page that says Singletrack Forum powered by Chainreaction…

    A business transaction that STW is now unlikely to get paid for…

    doomanic
    Full Member

    I thought they’d already been paid for it, which is why it’s still there.

    ransos
    Free Member

    I largely stopped using CRC after the Wiggle takeover, so Ashley picking over the bones isn’t going to make much difference. Shame though, I was ordering from their MBUK ads back in the 90s.

    brant
    Free Member

    Do they know where Ragley is at all?

    johnnystorm
    Full Member

    Off at a tangent slightly but Karrimor always get a mention of having been ruined by Ashley but their boots were shit and the brand past its best in the 90s. Muddy Fox gry mentioned in the article as well and they were also garbage long before Ashley acquired the brand.

    Back to the present day though it is a shame about Chiggle imho as DHB/Vitus/NP etc. was genuinely good kit and the service was decent.

    grimep
    Free Member

    Its not like the guy is Phillip Green ffs

    reverse snobbery imo

    ampthill
    Full Member

    So would people outlaw brand sales? They seem to be part of the constant churn of life. In this case they would be denying creditors money they are owed

    jimfrandisco
    Free Member

    So would people outlaw brand sales?

    In an ideal world, yes. Unless it’s the same manufacturer and same product etc, then it shouldn’t be the same brand name.

    But appreciate that’s completely naive/idealistic

    frankconway
    Full Member

    Ashley is not on Frasers Group board but, almost certainly, exercises considerable influence behind the scenes.

    It’s clear that consumers, generally, and the stock market like what the group are doing.

    He and his company are acting fully legally; UK headquartered and paying UK taxes in full.

    He turned an initial investment of £10k in the early 80s into a business worth >£5 billion.

    It’s clear he sees value where others don’t – and is willing to take a financial risk.

    I have no allegiance to any part of Frasers Group but facts are important

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    So leaving the Mike ashley issue.
    What happens to all the existing stock in situations like this?
    Does it get returned to the original manufacturer?

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Does it get returned to the original manufacturer?

    During the fire sale I went for a ride with a Wiggle employee. I asked why road tyres weren’t cheap. He said they’d be boxed retail. They could be returned for a refund to the supplier at any point for a full refund. The own branded stuff and OEM stuff is to be sold to post off creditors. Maybe right at the end they’ll give up on their website and sell it in bigger lots.

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    Thank you, just wondered as they must have millions in stock at in the warehouse

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    Just seen a post on FB that apparently all those directly employed by the brands – Vitus, NP etc. have all been let go too…….

    PJay
    Free Member

    Do they know where Ragley is at all?

    I’m wondering if I still have a warranty, would they be honoured by the new owners or are they toast?

    capability
    Free Member

    I’m fully expecting Nukeproof to continue producing bikes and retaining some key employees. It’s a well recognised successful brand producing cutting edge bikes and with a race team. It must be one of the jewels of Ashley’s purchase. Thoughts?

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    with a race team

    Who is on the team?

    johnnystorm
    Full Member

    @capability

    If it’s anything like Evans and Pinnacle they just seemed to keep selling the Arkose, etc. unchanged until they were a bit behind the curve and then give up, no further developments.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I’m fully expecting Nukeproof to continue producing bikes and retaining some key employees. It’s a well recognised successful brand producing cutting edge bikes and with a race team. It must be one of the jewels of Ashley’s purchase. Thoughts?

    Well my reading is that they’ve bought the brand and that is it. The news hear is that the design team has gone.

    Whether that means continuing to buy bikes to the current spec’ from the current supplier and selling them in say Evan’s we don’t know. It might mean writing Nukeproof on generic hard tails and selling them in Evan’s. Or maybe they’ll pass the designs to the current Evan’s Team.

    But I think we are still at the rumour stage

    BoardinBob
    Full Member

    Who is on the team?

    +1

    There’s no nukeproof factory team registered with the UCI

    kelvin
    Full Member

    I’m fully expecting Nukeproof to continue producing bikes and retaining some key employees.

    I’m expecting the brand to turn up on products that have nothing to do with anyone who worked at the old company. Again.

    munkyboy
    Free Member

    Nigel page (team manager nukeproofsram) has said it’s all over on Instagram. Assume that’s it then. Terrible news for all, nukeproof were really excelling at the moment.

    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    So it played out exactly as I predicted in November when it all kicked off. Personally I don’t think anyone was ever interested in buying the business as a going concern as it was a huge money pit losing around £10s of millions a year it seems.

    ive been hammered by emails from recruitment companies trying to find work for all the staff laid off

    MA is just going to copy paste the evans website, the brand names are just traffic funnels to double his turnover with zero extra cost. I do expect all the brands to be butchered over the next few years

    yes I’m sad for staff but they were working for a zombie waiting to die. I’m more upset for all the businesses killed off over the years trying to compete against CRC operating with negative margins paid for by loans they never needed to pay, see the £160 million they were “let off” by the head company.

    consumers got their cheap stuff but I can assure you things are going to get a lot more expensive very soon. People were only really fans for the price IMHO. Nobody will fill the loss making void.

    theres a lot of collateral damage in the background. I know several taiwan suppliers were bankrupted by it. I’m also suspecting several viable external brands to die in the process as they have sold naff all at a critical point in the year due to the fire sale of a years worth of stock in 8weeks we have just been through. So there’s a lot to digest, it’s not just crc disappearing but a lot lot more at stake.

    neil SuperstarComponents

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    People were only really fans for the price IMHO.

    After the wiggle / CRC merger id agree with you. Before that it customers were also driven by the range, fast reliable delivery and customer service (back when you could speak to someone). The recent web site changes were a complete joke.

    Its not like the guy is Phillip Green ffs

    He’s a property tycoon rather than retail – buys a failing shop franchise, boots off the the expensive rental sites & keeps the freehold ones, then rents those sites back to his other brands. So he makes money twice on them all. High streets have died off, not due to lack of footfall, but lack of freehold and affordable rents/rates.

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    It’s clear he sees value where others don’t – and is willing to take a financial risk.

    Buying only the IP isn’t much risk in this case imo. His USP is to buy a brand cheap, stick the logo on crap and sell it cheap. He’s bought marketing and brand awareness for a fraction of the cost – that’s not a big risk, it’s his business model.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Well that’s bad news for all the staff in all the companies affected.

    If I’m honest, and I’ve used CRC/Wiggle, the last few years of underpriced selling and aggressively putting LBS’s out of business was not sustainable or positive for the cycling industry. It was a race to the bottom on price, constantly. I’m a huge bargain hunter, but I’m wondering if this is a good thing for many others in the business.

    nickc
    Full Member

     Nobody will fill the loss making void.

    Some one will. Maybe not immediately, but one of the larger on-lines will get to the point where it’ll be a target for investment, and before you know it…

    kerley
    Free Member

    Lbs is the way forward

    It hasn’t been the way forward for me for 20 years as they a) never have anything I need and b) have less knowledge about the things I want than I do

    I will continue Google searching for the items I want and buy from whatever shops come up that stock them, all online. No LBS is ever going to be able to stock the things I want.

    ribena
    Free Member

    What happened to the Pinnacle brand? They seemed to have just carried on selling what existed before with no more development.

    The tricky thing with nukeproof is they’ve just developed the bafang ebikes. Not sure how they’d continue selling or supporting those?

    crankrider
    Free Member

    I agree with Neil here, I also didn’t expect a buyer to come forward for the group as a going concern.

    Unless Nukeproof is sold separately and quickly to a third party it’s also gone along with the other in-house brands, MA doesn’t do bicycle engineering and design.

    All likelihood is the brands either die or become budget offerings like muddy fox etc.

    It’s all a huge shame, some good people and lots of work down the drain.


    @Ribena
    – I am almost certain you won’t ever see another high end nukeproof bike for sale unless they sell the brand externally.

    goldfish24
    Full Member

    Not sure how they’d continue selling or supporting those?

    “they” don’t exist anymore. All that exists is a name.

    nwgiles
    Full Member

    So does this mean the mega I recently bought is now a Genuine End of Line Limited edition

    convert
    Full Member

    I do wonder what the value of the CRC or Wiggle brand names is as an IP to Ashley. The associated product brands yes – like Karrimor were 20 years ago. But the retailer brand names….

    Unless he plans to upscale the current Evans warehousing operation and just make cut and paste websites labelled CRC and Wiggle.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    until it breaks in 2 weeks, then it’s just ‘end’.

    🙂

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Unless he plans to upscale the current Evans warehousing operation and just make cut and paste websites labelled CRC and Wiggle.

    That’s what Neil suggests. A simple way of sending more traffic to something you already have. Presumably it’s brand recognition and leveraging their track record on google

    andy4d
    Full Member

    If CRC\Wiggle administrators have let all the staff go it seems odd the website is still open for orders. Who is going to be picking/packing those? Do staff get given notice in this situation and are still working for a week or so? I would have thought the website would have been closed. There could be a fair few people not receiving their orders if they are not aware of the announcement.

    lillski74
    Free Member

    I think it’s exactly that.

    Ready made e-commerce expansion for Evans, and possibly NP, Vitus brands etc will continue in some guise via the ‘group’.

    Existing infrastructure/warehousing is all in place so a cost effective way of expanding market share.

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 258 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.