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.

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Hannah Dobson

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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.

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Viewing 40 posts - 81 through 120 (of 258 total)
  • Wiggle Chain Reaction Deal Falls Through: Mike Ashley Buys Name and IP
  • crossed
    Full Member

    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.

    I couldn’t agree with this more.

    Loads of people go on about LBS and how we should all be using them but the reality that I’ve found is that they’re generally either non-existent or a bit shit. The last three places I’ve lived over the past 20 or so years have fitted in to one of these two categories. Once you’re talking about a 30+ mile round trip to get to an LBS then online will win every time.

    a11y
    Full Member

    Bad news for any staff connected to CRC/Wiggle/Hotlines etc.

    Admittedly I was part of the problem as I used Wiggle fairly often both before and after the CRC merger, but the reason I used them was they offered what I was looking for, stock was actually in-stock when it said it was (unlike many other online companies or indeed LBSs), and delivery was quick. I’m northern/Scottish so of course I’m a huge bargain hunter also.

    I just see all the great brands they had going down the pan or being slapped onto utter shite products in the same way as has happened with most things Mike Ashley touches. Sad times.

    laurencegough
    Free Member

    If the Fraser’s group gets the brand I hope no one buys them any more. Only the name wil remain the quality and customer service will turn to nothing, just like what happened to Evans cycles etc.

    onewheelgood
    Full Member

    I think the bike business should take a look at what the bookshops have done to stay in business against the might of Amazon. I can go to my LBS (Local Book Shop, the excellent Warwick Books) order pretty much any book that is still in print, and get a phone call the next morning to say that my book is ready to collect. I don’t know what miracle of logistics lies behind this, but if they can do it for books I can’t see why it wouldn’t work for bike parts.

    nickjb
    Free 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?

    According to Cycling News they are keeping on a handful of staff to clear out the existing stock

    I placed an order yesterday and got a dispatched notification at 11pm

    core
    Full Member

    I try not to buy anything from any Mike Ashley related businesses, but sometimes you have no alternative. I haven’t used Wiggle/CRC for a long time as the website(s) is utter bobbins and half of the items listed are incorrectly listed in terms of detail or stock status, and the headline prices are rarely what you get for the derivative of the product you want.

    But, I also think a lot of LBS are shite. I know some good mechanics based in shops who I use for more complex stuff, but the shops don’t really hold parts stock anymore, they can get stuff in, but it’s all at high prices and takes a long time, plus I’ve got to drive the 15 miles there etc. I get why, they can’t afford to hold stock when there are so many ‘standards’, but it seems to be a vicious circle.

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    I don’t see what Mike Ashley did to Karrimor is any different to what CRC did to Nukeproof. Both are nothing like how they started out. As soon as Nukeproof became an in-house CRC brand the cache was lost.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    the shops don’t really hold parts stock anymore, they can get stuff in

    Of course they don’t hold the parts. Because for years now they couldn’t compete on price with a loss making deliver to your door company when it came to those parts.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I don’t see what Mike Ashley did to Karrimor is any different to what CRC did to Nukeproof. 

    Fair comment. And now he might end up making some Nukeproof BSOs – or he might just be buying the CRC & Wiggle brands.

    He’s just doing what he does picking up the dead brand IP, but it’s a massive shame nothing could be carried on as a going concern. I guess they were just too big for anyone to absorb/afford on that basis.

    convert
    Full Member

    Of course they don’t hold the parts.

    They never did. They’d steer you to buy the thing they did have in stock. It’s inconceivable any small family owned shop could ever hold all the stock needed. But the range of different components used now has risen exponentially in the last 30 years. Regardless of the rise on Chiggle etc I don’t think the LBS model could ever have kept up with consumer needs and expectation.

    The only LBS model I could envisage working would be a franchised screwfix style model with some stock and a lot more available next day and a mechanic to do the spannering.

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    I don’t really get the LBS vs online debate, surely there’s space for both?

    I never visit an LBS as it takes more time/hassle than fixing my own stuff at home. But equally there’s friends I ride with who get everything done at the LBS, and if they buy something online (2nd hand or new), they get the LBS to fit it. I don’t see either approach being wrong.

    dave_h
    Free Member

    The absolute scumbag, buy the IP and bin the rest. Words fail me as to how this has been able to happen, complete and utter greed from all of them

    It’s just business.  CRC/Wiggle have gone bust and he’s taken the element he sees the greatest value from so that the creditors can get back some of the money they are owed.  He didn’t make them go bust nor is his business a charity that keeps people in work.

    Let’s not forget that the reason CRC/Wiggle existed is because of our insatiable appetite to have things cheap.  How many LBS have gone bust because of our buying habits.  Ultimately, much of the responsibility of the situation in the bike trade sits with us.

    hooli
    Full Member

    Unless I am missing something, I don’t get why people are so against the IP being sold? Obviously it would have been better if the staff kept their jobs and it was sold as a going concern but that was a big ask. If evil Mike makes a BSO and puts a Ragley/Vitus/Nukeproof sticker on it, nobody who had one of the CRC Nukeproofs is going to think it’s the same bike. People who buy a £200 bike from Sportsdirect more than likely don’t care what it says on the sticker either, they certainly wouldn’t have been aware of the history behind a brand.

    It also opens up a gap in the market for other brands to move into.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    They never did.

    True. I remember even in the 90s I’d get a bike shop to order in the part I wanted. Meant two trips to the bike shop… and two chances to chat bikes and look at bikes.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Unless I am missing something, I don’t get why people are so against the IP being sold?

    Mostly I think becasue Mike Ashley is a lazy “all somewhat successful High-Street businessmen must be soulless rapacious bogeyman” trope?

    I mean if the baddies would just wear a topper, and hide behind a cape raised to just below their eyes, and perhaps even a maniacal laugh;  it would all be much much simpler

    crankrider
    Free Member

    the-muffin-man – I’m sorry but that may the case for you but Nukeproof was a brand held in fairly high regard and did it not win a ‘most desirable’ award?

    ’cachet’ – sure they aren’t a titanium single speed made in Gary Fishers garage but a mile away from what sports direct did to Karrimor.

     

    mark88
    Full Member

    I don’t see what Mike Ashley did to Karrimor is any different to what CRC did to Nukeproof. Both are nothing like how they started out. As soon as Nukeproof became an in-house CRC brand the cache was lost

    Nukeproof continued to develop bikes and adding to their range. They offered some more budget models along with high end specs and sponsored teams and riders at a world cup level. That’s very different to using a historic reputation to sell a substandard product.

    There was some quality issues with the latest Mega which tarnished the reputation, but aside from that I really like Nukeproof. I hope they get sold off so they can continue.

    convert
    Full Member

    People who buy a £200 bike from Sportsdirect more than likely don’t care what it says on the sticker either, they certainly wouldn’t have been aware of the history behind a brand.

    This is totally muddled thinking. IF the people buying the Ashley bike with the ‘Ragley’ sticker on it don’t care what the sticker says, why did Ashley pay money for the right to put ‘Ragley’ on it rather that ‘Padley’? 20 years on the Karrimor stuff that Ashley knocks out is still dining out on the reputation the brand had in it’s halcyon days when it’s stuff was designed and made in the UK.

    Though I do take the point that CRC Nukeproof is already nothing like the original Nukeproof brand so this is only the same thing happening again for it.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I’d say it’d be good to see Nukeproof, Vitus or Ragley purchased and continued by the staff involved, but since their main selling channel will be gone that probably doesn’t make much sense.

    Is Brant asking about Ragley with a view to picking it up though?

    argee
    Full Member

    So does this mean i can get more options than Muddy Fox from sports direct in the near future?

    mrdobermann
    Free Member

    What happened to the original business that started off CR? Only been playing Mtb for a relatively short time compared to many of you.

    crankrider
    Free Member

    Brant probably has the sense to stay with clothes and not go anywhere near Ragley

    tomhoward
    Full Member

    What happened to the original business that started off CR?

    Very long story, very short

    started as a family owned LBS
    Started doing Mail order
    Became worlds biggest mail order bike shop, with its own brands, race team and distribution channels
    Family sold to Wiggle
    Owners of wiggle pulled their investment

    sv
    Full Member

    The original LBS morphed into the CRC that we all knew, that they then sold to Wiggle. The family did well from the sale, the business not so much…

    elray89
    Free Member

    Fantastic, I have been desperate for more channels to buy crap Muddyfox seat covers from.

    ped
    Full Member

    hz2o9fnwrj241-2676250302

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    Elliot Heap and Nigel Paige have posted on FB & Insta that it’s all over for the team etc.

    Not sure where that leave Chris Cumming & Continental Nukeproof Factory Racing along with Danny Hart & Vero Widmann etc.

    Not seen anything posted from the Nukeproof crew in Belfast etc., hope that something can come out of this as Nukeproof are (were…) doing some great stuff with kit and bikes.

    My last 3 FS’s (including my current carbon Mega) have been Nukeproof, I had a Scout hard tail and now have a Ragley Marley, and my Daughter has 2 Vitus bikes. Strange to think that those brands are no longer as they were a couple of days ago…..

     

     

    nickjb
    Free Member

    I notice GMBN announced a new bike sponsor last Friday. I don’t know if that was pre-emptive or Nukeproof had already pulled out of their deal. Blake’s going to miss his Scout

    thisisnotaspoon
    Free 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.

    From a business perspective this seems odd.

    In the short term they still have stock to shift, which needs people to build bikes, pick and pack orders, etc.

    I guess externally supplied stuff might go back to the supplier. But I wonder if that means they’re going to send the rest to an auction house to dispose of in bulk. There must still be stock of some quite high value stuff as the fire sale seemed to be mostly Vitus MTBs (not road, Cx etc) which I assumed was to try and protect the core brands value. As well as crates of small parts.

    clubby
    Full Member

    The only LBS model I could envisage working would be a franchised screwfix style model with some stock and a lot more available next day and a mechanic to do the spannering.

    Careful now, you’ve just described Halfords. 

    convert
    Full Member

    Careful now, you’ve just described Halfords.

    I lord – what have I done!

    Though to be fair – that might just be the best we can expect.

    And – whilst it doesn’t need to be strapped to an automotive supplier, I can see it being more sustainable if the business does something else too in addition to bike and bike mechanics for an income stream.

    I was actually thinking going the other way though – a sole trader outfit that were branded up as part of a larger ‘chain’ with some sort of common training and standards. Operating out of a cheap unit on a trading estate or a very cheap small retail unit BUT with access to a supply chain and pricing that a sole trader could only dream of. You have a single source for all your parts and don’t have to deal with a myriad of distributors. Test bikes could be shipped to you for consumers to pay to take it away for a demo day/week.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Halfords MUST have considered it, but it would have a been a tight timeframe to reconsider their entire business model when it comes to bikes.

    And maybe they think they can pick up plenty of the custom that Chiggle were getting anyway?

    finbar
    Free Member

    Mostly I think becasue Mike Ashley is a lazy “all somewhat successful High-Street businessmen must be soulless rapacious bogeyman” trope?

    I mean if the baddies would just wear a topper, and hide behind a cape raised to just below their eyes, and perhaps even a maniacal laugh; it would all be much much simpler

    Come on, he’s not a very nice chap. Sure – no worse than Philip Green or Bezos, but that’s no excuse.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/sports-direct-mike-ashley-worker-conditions-minimum-wage-ian-wright-investigation-a7149971.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/06/mike-ashley-high-court-sports-direct-newcastle-united

    clubby
    Full Member

    Halfords MUST have considered it, but it would have a been a tight timeframe to reconsider their entire business model when it comes to bikes.

    They tried before and even they couldn’t make it work. They owned Cycle Republic but sold some off and closed the rest.

    They already own Tredz for the online stuff.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    onewheelgood
    Full Member
    I think the bike business should take a look at what the bookshops have done to stay in business against the might of Amazon. I can go to my LBS (Local Book Shop, the excellent Warwick Books) order pretty much any book that is still in print, and get a phone call the next morning to say that my book is ready to collect. I don’t know what miracle of logistics lies behind this, but if they can do it for books I can’t see why it wouldn’t work for bike parts.

    I never use Amazon.

    I use this, which is connected to most independent book shops.

    https://bookshop.org/

    joemgh
    Full Member

    I just tried to buy a set of pivot bolts and a hanger etc to future proof my wife’s Vitus, and the order was immediately cancelled and refunded.

    jhinwxm
    Free Member

    WTF is an IP?

    mashr
    Full Member

    WTF is an IP?

    Intellectual Property

    e.g. Names, logos, specs, designs, etc

    convert
    Full Member

    Intellectual Property.

    Lots of different types (Design Rights, Copyright, patents, trademarks).

    I’m assuming here we are talking mostly about trademarks.

    thepodge
    Free Member

    Funny how short some people’s memory is.

    Nukeproof and Vitus were both brands that existed long before CRC or Wiggle. After they died they were bought by a massive company, the same company that bought x-lite and killed that off too, that company then produced products that had little if any connection with the original products.

Viewing 40 posts - 81 through 120 (of 258 total)

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