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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Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 258 total)
  • Wiggle Chain Reaction Deal Falls Through: Mike Ashley Buys Name and IP
  • ampthill
    Full Member

    A useful reminder that this is real people and real jobs. I hope that all the staff find good jobs that work for them.

    I hope all the Nukeproof guys get fired up and someone starts up another company doing the same with the similar builds etc… a bit of a phoenix from the flames.

    I hope so too. But I’m assuming a lot of people looked long and had at buying Nukeproof, including the current team. The conclusion must have been that they couldn’t make it work. Although we don’t know what the brand would have cost, it’s hard to imagine that starting a new brand from scratch would have been cheaper.  I think that the  cycling industry consensus must have been, with many brands close to going bust, now is not the time to invest

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    I really hope they rise again too.

    Is there anyone doing value alu hardtail frames anymore?

    The Vitus/Nukeproof/Ragley stuff was quite well thoughtout, as was the Pinnacle stuff from Evans. Even On-one seemed to have lost interest in frame only options judging from their pricing.

    Maybe Aliexpress is the only answer. At least their frames have “fish scale proces”
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006363539292.html

    swdan
    Free Member

     but he’s also never been that into the internet has he, so this is a change for him…

    He doesn’t need to be, my understanding is that’s he’s bought the name and the IP, he’s not bought it as a going-concern and therefore he won’t be operating the webshop

    dmorts
    Full Member

    I hope all the Nukeproof guys get fired up and someone starts up another company doing the same with the similar builds etc… a bit of a phoenix from the flames

    Islabike? They created the “decent bikes for kids” market. Two competitors, Vitus and Nukeproof are just about to exit it. Perhaps Islabike is due a resurrection

    BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    I’ve had uniformly good experiences both buying from Wiggle and with Nukeproof parts in particular and will be sad to see them and CRC go. As per anyone else here with an ounce of empathy, I hope the staff are able to find alternative employment and wish them well generally.

    Also, people keep mentioning Karrimor as a name that was ‘ruined’ by Mike Ashley. In fact, regardless of what he’s done with the brand, Karrimor pretty much shafted itself well before he bought it. Initially it was an innovative company thanks largely to Mike Parsons, who was behind stuff like the Karrimat, KSB lightweight boot and more, but things went quite badly wrong when they decided they were going to become some sort of fashion mega-brand off the back of a positive fleece review in GQ or FHM and created a huge new-season range of mostly light blue technical clothing that didn’t really work very well in technical terms, but didn’t appeal to fashionistas either.

    In the aftermath of that, they were bought out by an Irish holding company, relocated for a few years to Dublin and pretty much lost their identity as a hands-on outdoor brand. They were a sort of zombie shell of a real brand well before Mike Ashley.

    mrmo
    Free Member

    Karrimor may have screwed themselves, but what it is now is nothing to do with what it was. But it’s not unusual in cycling, see Carnac, Vitus, nukeproof, Holdsworth, etc etc. I think even Silca is barely connected to its past.

    It would be nice for companies to offer products that are genuine rather than trading off some history. At least Rapha picked a new name rather than trying to commandeer some other company.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    @Captain-Pugwash I feel for you having been through similar in the past. Good luck finding something suitable

    Andy
    Full Member

    Used to be great going to the Karrimor factory shop in Clitheroe in the early 90’s

    convert
    Full Member

    Yes, good luck to Pugwash and all the rest in finding secure and fulfilling new roles. I really feel for you.

    As I’ve mentioned before someone close to me was royally shafted by wiggle some years back over employment (offered a job with them and had resigned and left their current job before wiggle withdrew the offer hours before they were meant to start citing a restructure and the job no longer existing. Turned out later for those in the business that the restructure was in the works long before the offer was made and they only went ahead and offered as a backstop in case it didn’t go through) which has left me very ambivalent about them as an employer or someone to spend money with ever since. But this really sucks for many of you.

    ocrider
    Full Member

    Islabike? They created the “decent bikes for kids” market. Two competitors, Vitus and Nukeproof are just about to exit it. Perhaps Islabike is due a resurrection

    That’s not going to happen. Isla’s a Quaker and their level of ethics is far beyond merely running a business. Which is why they packed it in rather than selling on the brand.

    finbar
    Free Member

    Interestingly Mike Ashley owns a stake (25% or 33% IIRC) in Agent Provocateur, which has more-or-less remained a very upmarket lingerie retailer since his arrival. So perhaps he is capable of operating different business models.
    (Or, maybe the other board members are just capable of standing up to him…)

    thepodge
    Free Member

    It’ll also be a shame for Vitus buyers as they were excellent value

    They weren’t excellent value, they were being sold at or below cost. That’s not a unsustainable business model so if they do return then they wont be excellent value.

    I suspect the reason for buying the IP (though oddly not the stock) is because if you google “cheap fox 38s” and the 7 of the top 10 results all point to businesses you own then you’ve got a head start over the competitors. So I would expect to see Wiggle & CRC web names live on but pointing to the same website architecture as Evans or Sports Direct just with their own brand colour coding.

    As for why you’d buy Nukeproof and Vitus and all the sub brand IP, it might just have been a case it was bundled in together by the administrators so it was all or nothing. Give it a couple of years for it all to die down then stick the brand names on the market again… remember that they’ve both already had 2 different owners, Saracen has had maybe 3. Holdsworth, Titus & POD have all come back to the market under PX.

    failedengineer
    Full Member

    Wasn’t the Karrimor factory shop just outside Accrington? I’m still wearing a base layer I got from there about 30 years ago …..

    itlab
    Free Member

    Interestingly Mike Ashley owns a stake (25% or 33% IIRC) in Agent Provocateur,

    they have also for a few years now owned 37% of mulberry, which so far still maintains its cachet. although that might be due to them keeping him at arms length they rejected his requests for a place on their board and said that while Ashley is “an important shareholder, a successful businessman . . . we don’t consider he has the expertise that we need to grow the company”

    FB-ATB
    Full Member

    Bugger- just found out he also owns 10% of Hornby.

    chestrockwell
    Full Member

    Saracen has had maybe 3

    At the very least. Think they were the original owners up until the mid 90’s, then sold on where they continued to make some decent stuff. Went hugely downhill and in to BSO territory in the 2000’s so assume they were sold again before finally ending up with Maddison?

    dmorts
    Full Member

    Islabike? They created the “decent bikes for kids” market. Two competitors, Vitus and Nukeproof are just about to exit it. Perhaps Islabike is due a resurrection

    That’s not going to happen. Isla’s a Quaker and their level of ethics is far beyond merely running a business. Which is why they packed it in rather than selling on the brand.

    I’m merely pointing out that the marketplace will be getting less crowded and perhaps more favourable for Islabikes to restart or relaunch themselves. There’s going to be less choice of decent kids bikes. Nukeproof and Vitus will never be the same again if Pinnacle are anything to go by.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    He doesn’t need to be, my understanding is that’s he’s bought the name and the IP, he’s not bought it as a going-concern and therefore he won’t be operating the webshop

    If that’s really the case then he/they are bonkers. But I’d have thought stuff like domain names and the associated market presence comes under the general heading of ‘IP’ surely? Not just ‘Brands’ and product names…

    I can see Frazer group “re-skinning” the wiggle and CRC websites as front ends for their existing Evans web store, I mean wiggle/CRC were the ones to pioneer having two storefronts for the same business. Is it much more sweat for the potential increase in traffic?

    In much the same way, how much trouble is it to get their existing suppliers for Pinnacle bikes to pop a Vitus decal on a frame?

    I’m merely pointing out that the marketplace will be getting less crowded and perhaps more favourable for Islabikes to restart or relaunch themselves. There’s going to be less choice of decent kids bikes. Nukeproof and Vitus will never be the same again if Pinnacle are anything to go by.

    It may be shrinking, but I don’t think it’s going to become a hospitable marketplace for businesses with a more ethical set of core values, it’s just going to become a smaller pond with some bigger sharks swimming in it. That’s part of why Isla shut up shop (IMO).

    jamiemcf
    Full Member

    I feel for all the staff. It can’t be pleasant finding out you’ve all lost your jobs in a such a public way.

    On the mercenary front. I had some grips in my basket for a while I ordered this time last night. Dispatched last night EVRI dropped them off just now. So some slightly less unfortunate employees are still putting a shift I .

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Seems basically bizarre that you can go from being such a huge retail concern, with own brands and dominant market position and 450 staff, to “nobody wants to buy this as a company at any price, the only deal that can be made is for the paperwork”. Very sad.

    mc
    Free Member

    It’s probably more to do with the state of the cycle industry.
    Cycle retail is on it’s a**e.
    Sales are down.
    Lots of businesses have lots of stock that they can’t shift.
    Most businesses are struggling to make any profit.

    In short, who can afford and/or justify to buy a relatively huge company that itself hasn’t made any profit the past few years?
    Even if you could buy the whole lot for a pound, making it profitable wouldn’t be a quick task, and would require substantial investment.

    butcher
    Full Member

    Nukeproof and Vitus will never be the same again if Pinnacle are anything to go by.

    I don’t know about the other brands but I was under the impression Vitus were a completely separate entity operating out of Wiggle premises through mutual agreement.

    I guess they’ll be pretty screwed either way, but do we know which brands are owned by Wiggle?

    Edit: Turns out they’re both owned by Signa Sports. That’s not what I’d been led to believe.

    lorax
    Full Member

    The Wiggle and CRC websites are still up and apparently accepting orders. Are they somehow still functioning? I’m after a Brand-X dropper post which as far as I am aware no one else sells, although there are some on eBay. I assume I’d be stupid to risk buying from CRC/Wiggle…

    GeForceJunky
    Full Member

    What size? I have a new 31.6x125mm post I need to sell. Yes they are currently still dispatching orders.

    lorax
    Full Member

    Thanks @GeForceJunky – but sadly it’s 30.9mm

    nickjb
    Free Member

    I assume I’d be stupid to risk buying from CRC/Wiggle…

    Not really. They are still in administration and trading. Skeleton staff left. I placed an order yesterday. Dispatched this morning. Main concern is that you are unlikely to be able to return it if there are issues. I’d pay with PayPal for a bit of protection though

    lorax
    Full Member

    Thanks @nickjb. I’ve just ordered it (using a credit card) – fingers crossed!

    bigrich
    Full Member

    I want a CRC pint mug.

    mudpup
    Free Member

    Mike Ashley now has a ready made global sales outlet with the CRC/Wiggle name. That was he was missing with Evans and what was probably interesting to him.

    mashr
    Full Member

    CRC/Wiggle were only popular abroad because they were cheaper (and often faster) than buying locally. I can’t see him returning them to that model, as it’s the same one that cussed this mess (minus takeover and website nonsense)

    Edukator
    Free Member

    Back in day I could buy from shambolic LBSes (nothing has changed) or mail order with a letter and cheque from better stocked bike shops, Routens in France and CRC in NI. Then I set up a bike business and bought from the trade suppliers and sometimes SJSC because they stocked stuff the trade had forgotten. The Internet provided a business opportunity and my own effort was one of the many that didn’t make it big. I took a sabatical.

    So back to being a normal customer which was great – bike-components.de in Aachen, Merlin, CRC, Streakx, SJSC, Fahrrad.de, probikeshop, kelvelo – great service and competetive prices all of them. One exception, Wiggle were slow and I’m certain they lost my credit card details which cost me time and bank fees.

    I was a little dubious then when CRC and Wiggle merged. CRC continued as usual for a while, then they started sending me the wrong stuff and the delighful French lady who used to pick up the phone to sort out any problems went missing. I still used CRC occasionally for their own brands such as Vitus and Nukeproof. Then came Brexit day, my account ceased to exist and I couldn’t open a new one from France.

    Five of the businesses I’ve quoted are still up and running and providing great service. I see more people on bikes than since the 60s. Bike retailing is far from dead, someone will fill a partial vacuum. I hope those left in the lurch find altetnatives or set up their own ventures.

    burgatedicky
    Full Member

    I’ll be testing the refund waters imminently. Ordered a (very) reduced Garmin and HRM strap a few days ago, paid with PayPal and today received…an empty box. As in, completely empty! Parcel tape had clearly been cut then resealed so suspect someone at Parcelforce has had some light fingers.

    Have spoken to Parcelforce, who passed me back to Wiggle.
    Have emailed wiggle but received no reply (yet).
    And have raised a dispute with Paypal, who had passed it on to Wiggle.

    Will wait and see how this unfolds….

    lorax
    Full Member

    The dropper post I ordered from Wiggle over the weekend arrived yesterday.

    (and for the record it was my (excellent) LBS that suggested I buy it from Wiggle as they couldn’t source one through their supplier)

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    I’ve ordered a chunk of spares for my Mega 290 Carbon – bolts & linkage mainly, probably never need them, but just in case, and a couple of Brand-X dropper service kits.

    dropoff
    Full Member

    Just curious, has anyone received a refund from CRC in the last few days?

    nickjb
    Free Member

    I had part of my order cancelled yesterday and they refunded straight away

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    @dropoff I had the same as @nickjb.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    I ordered a load of shit on Thursday and not had anything cancelled. The stock tracking is very much live though (I lost a few things between putting in basket and checking out) and they’re deleting stuff that isn’t in stock every so often (should have bought that Mini bore cap tool at the time!).

Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 258 total)

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