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 - 201 through 240 (of 258 total)
  • Wiggle Chain Reaction Deal Falls Through: Mike Ashley Buys Name and IP
  • niel11
    Free Member

    Think I’ve just placed my last ever order with Chain Reaction, almost £100 worth of stuff for £25. This sale has really thrown the my expectation of the price of things, I expect a 75% discount with every retailer now!

    I’ve got my eye on a couple of final bits if they’re reduced further but I’m not desperate for them. Would love to know how much I’ve spent with them over the years, at one point I had gold membership as I was buying something at least every other week!

    Can’t believe they’ve almost gone, despite the terrible website they were always there and even their standard delivery was quick. Shame to see them go but hopefully this opens the market for someone else.

    kerley
    Free Member

    Would love to know how much I’ve spent with them over the years, at one point I had gold membership as I was buying something at least every other week!

    Would be interesting as I was on Platinum a lot of the time.  No record of past purchases pre website change though is there and probably better I didn’t know anyway!

    convert
    Full Member

    One small (and I mean small in comparison to all those folk who have lost their jobs) personal benefit from Chiggle going under is I’m not going to be constantly hating myself for ordering from a company that use Evri for delivery. I usually refuse to order anything that is knowingly going to be delivered by Evri but would succumb for chiggle all too readily.

    Its been 9 days and counting that my very last chiggle order has been sat at the local depot. It’ll get here – they nearly always do, usual wait is around two weeks for it to make the last 20 miles. They use a third party shower of shit for the last leg on Highland deliveries who are beyond hopeless. Amazon prime next actually arrives next day and RM/ Parcelforce manage it too – just the fetid devil’s ball sack that is Evri that are so useless. So yeah, not repeatedly disappointing myself by caving and using them is one small mercy.

    bazingaeuan
    Full Member

    I’m getting back into riding after quite a few years off. The e-bike deals are really tempting, but assume there is basically no warranty now on vitus/nukeproof frames? Might have more luck on component warranties such as Shimano (thinking of the steps motor).

    Anyone got and info regarding this?

    ampthill
    Full Member

    So it looks like he paid under £10 million

    Presumably losing all dept in the process

    https://road.cc/content/news/mike-ashleys-frasers-group-buys-wiggle-ps10m-307081

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    @convert – our Evri deliveries are just as good/regular as Amazon, PO etc. Tracking is accurate and everything arrives on time.

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Presumably losing all dept in the process

    That’s how these things work – if dept was transferred to a new owner they’d be in no better place than the previous owner.

    It’s shit, but that’s how it is.

    And I’ve been on the receiving end of this when companies have gone bust on me.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has acquired Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles’ brand and intellectual property 

    Debt doesn’t come into it. He’s just bought the name and IP – presumably to slap on his existing online cycling offer.

    He’s not bought the business as a going concern. It’s not like a pre-pack deal where the business gets phoenix-ed and trading continues via a very similar entity.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Free Member

    So it looks like he paid under £10 million

    Presumably losing all dept in the process

    As above, he’s just bought the names/logos * of the shop (and house brands). He’s not bought the company, the real estate, the stock, the staff etc.

    I’ve no love for the guy but if you’re going to be facetious he’s paid £10million to the creditors they wouldn’t have got otherwise.

    The point of going into administration when you’re insolvent and unable to continue trading is so that suppliers etc can try and get their money back. There are examples of companies abusing the system to avoid liabilities, but in this case it seems a fairly straightforward case of the business model just didn’t work, so there was no “business” worth selling (phenix like or otherwise).

    The company’s total unsecured debts were only £26.7 million, so between that £10million and the stock clearance it’ll be interesting to see how much/little is actually lost. Most of the “debt” seems to have been moved into the holding company which folded but I presume that debt was owned by investors not suppliers.

    *it’s not really clear if he’s bought the rest of the IP like designs, websites etc?

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    The interesting thing to me is that £10m is potentially a bit of a bargain if it gives Fraser group a better internet cycling storefront that Evans plus a few more brand names slap on their tat…

    As also reported in February, the deal will result in all 447 of WiggleCRC’s employees losing their jobs, with a number taking to social media last week to confirm that their “time was up” at the company as the administrators “closed the shutters”….

    …The deal also follows the trend for Frasers to purchase the brand and intellectual property of retailers on the brink of collapse at a heavy discount, while laying off all or almost all of the company’s staff in the process.

    ^^These statements from the road.cc article^^ feel like the reporting is intended to direct some extra anger/blame at Ashley, instead of Signa who were basically the ones that **** the Chiggle employees. He’s just buying some of the remaining assets (same as the rest of us picking up heavily discounted kit/parts/bikes). Ashley is no ‘business angel’ and his growing involvement in the cycling retail world isn’t necessarily something to welcome, but it does seem like some of the reporting is a bit disingenuous (IMO).

    Andy
    Full Member

    Wonder if that £10m includes the design specs and supplier data for all the inhouse brand Nukeproof / Vitus / Prime frames and parts and Lifeline / DHB /Fohn clothing?

    kelvin
    Full Member

    is intended to direct some extra anger/blame at Ashley, instead of Signa who were basically the ones that **** the Chiggle employees. He’s just buying some of the remaining assets (same as the rest of us picking up heavily discounted kit/parts/bikes).

    A very good point. You’ve made me reconsider how I see this anyway.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Im surprised they got £10m to be honest, seems a lot for what looks like mostly IP and very little stock/assets.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Wonder if that £10m includes the design specs and supplier data for all the inhouse brand Nukeproof / Vitus / Prime frames and parts and Lifeline / DHB /Fohn clothing?

    Also curious about this.

    They could get a few more years out of those designs (longer for clothing) without having to employ a design team.

    What have they done with Evans’ in-house stuff? Might give a clue.

    crankrider
    Free Member

    I agree with that – I would have thought that if nobody else took CRC / Wiggle a £10mill investment in a newly branded online store would be a better way to spend money. £10mil buys a lot of google ads / web development / logo designs etc.

    It will be interesting to see exactly what happens here with the in-house brands, maybe a calculation has been made that they can re-sell those brands or that much of the value lies here.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    Wonder if that £10m includes the design specs and supplier data for all the inhouse brand Nukeproof / Vitus / Prime frames and parts and Lifeline / DHB /Fohn clothing?

    If it does, it’s a bit of a bargain, but I suspect there’s a limit to what sort of manufacturing Fraser group will actually want to undertake in a rather Recessive cycling market.

    If they own the rights to designs rather than just logos I’d expect them to maybe pick up the ‘soft goods’ side of things.

    Im surprised they got £10m to be honest, seems a lot for what looks like mostly IP and very little stock/assets.

    Surely the stock comes with Debts attached, and is now significantly devalued by the recent fire sales.

    I wouldn’t undervalue IP (although it’s still unclear what ‘IP’ actually covers in this instance) the Wiggle and CRC web addresses alone should generate plenty of sales traffic (thus they are assets in their own right), not everyone will be as aware as us bike nerds about these industry shenanigans and will follow the top hits from google or bang in the same URL they always have to buy some bike stuff…

    Some of the brands have some solid value, I still see plenty of DHB kit out and about when riding, it ain’t Castelli or Rapha but DHB is pretty widely purchased and used, carrying over their VFM proposition could well suit Fraser group.

    NP/Ragley/Vitus Dunno, Is Vitus really worth much more than Pinnacle? Will Fraser group want to pick up manufacture of more ‘premium’ pitched brands like NP or Ragley? or start knocking out Carbon wheels under the prime brand again?
    Given they’re already picking over the bones of a recessive online cycling retail market Probably not in the first year or two.
    If they make 3x their £10m back on the deal within ~24 months (they probably will), they might consider trying their hand at more adventurous stuff but it’s all a Risk Vs Reward calculation.

    The other thing they might consider is parting out some of that IP to sell on, This certainly isn’t the first incarnation of NukeProof, and I’m sure someone thinks they’d be able to revive Ragley as a brand post Chiggle…

    £10m is a pretty good price IMO.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I want bemoaning the buying without debt. I was more thinking that if he gets the designs too it’s not a huge amount of money.

    I’m assuming that at some point when i Google mountain bike I’ll see a bike called a Nukeproof on a website called wiggle. That bike will have no further design or marketing costs over what has just been paid.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Will Fraser group want to pick up manufacture of more ‘premium’ pitched brands like NP or Ragley?

    See I was thinking the opposite. Presumably if they want Nukeproof bikes all they have do is email the manufacturer with numbers in each size….

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    See I was thinking the opposite. Presumably if they want Nukeproof bikes all they have do is email the manufacturer with numbers in each size….

    And then pay, probably up front given the last couple of years.

    Plus weren’t Chiggle assembling NP frames and components together here in the UK?
    Fraser group (Evans) are probably more used to Pinnacles turning as complete boxed bikes from the far east, only requiring a ‘turn the bars, fit pedals’ type PDI, not doing full builds or sourcing finishing kit, that’s all cost I doubt they’d want to swallow and logistics they’re not currently setup for, especially given how it all turned out for the company they’ve just bought a brand name from.

    branes
    Full Member

    £10m seems a lot to me. They paid £8m for all of Evans in a more bouyant (or at least more certain) market.

    Edit: Just read the article though. It says ‘worth less than £10 million,’ which is not £10m. So what is it?

    ampthill
    Full Member

    That’s an interesting comparison. Evans were in administration but he took on the stores. So I guess he took on more liability than with the chiggle deal

    mashr
    Full Member

    See I was thinking the opposite. Presumably if they want Nukeproof bikes all they have do is email the manufacturer with numbers in each size….

    Old Nukeproof should own the moulds, with exclusive use of the frame designs. If (as above) the frame manufacturer is owed money then I’m sure there will be some interesting and frank discussions about getting access to them (which at best means Ashley having to buy the moulds from the Administrator).

    It looks like a great big mess.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    He won’t though, it’ll just be catalogue bikes.

    Still no order despatch confirmation, supposed to arrive Wednesday. Whatever, I can live without the stuff but it would have been handy.

    BigJohn
    Full Member

    The very cheap Brand X dropper post I ordered on Thursday arrived this morning. All good, but no sweeties in the box. Things really must be bad.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Got the dispatch note soon after I posted.

    They owe Haribo £20k, I wouldn’t imagine there will be any freebies.

    Speeder
    Full Member

    I think the “under” in under £10m must be doing some heavy lifting – the IP is worth a very small percentage of that without the team and infrastucture around it.

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    That’s it then – websites are now closed.

    Screenshot_20240319-222945

    Placed an order a couple of days ago so hopefully that’ll be delivered.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Who is left to build jumps and switchbacks, I wonder…

    Edit:  Looking at the wording, I can’t help but think there was no one left to even write the text for the holding page and so someone just asked ChatGPT to come up with something.

    cp
    Full Member

    Who is left to build jumps and switchbacks, I wonder…

    Edit:  Looking at the wording, I can’t help but think there was no one left to even write the text for the holding page and so someone just asked ChatGPT to come up with something.

    It’s just the holding page from when they changed the website design/infrastructure last year, with a couple of sentences of spiel added at the bottom re. current orders.

    ceept
    Full Member

    Just reading through the list of creditors. There is no way the demise of Wiggle is not going to have a domino effect for the bike industry. So many of these companies won’t be able to sustain the scale of loss. 🙁

    https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/02667809/filing-history/MzQwOTUxMDEzMmFkaXF6a2N4/document?format=pdf&download=0

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    Interesting that ‘software’ is valued at £1m. Cant be the website??

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Some of the numbers blow my little mind.

    nickjb
    Free Member

    Yep, lots or 6 figure sums owed and quite a few over a million, I’m sure Google can afford it but there will be plenty of companies on that list that it’ll hit hard. Singletrack owed about £1200

    uggski
    Full Member

    Endura owed quite a bit. That will sting!  Can companies take out insurance against this sort of thing?

    dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    Quite a few with big numbers – Madison, Hope & Endura…

    Also the Race Team are owed too – Sam Hill £34k, Kelan Grant, Eliot Heap, Dan Booker, Corey Watson, Joe Smith & Jacy Shumalik…….

    Oh and still owe Haribo £24k…..

    Burchy1
    Free Member

    Some riders/film makers on that list aswell. Sam Hill is owed £35k!

    EDIT – Should have refreshed before I posted!

    I can sort of see how the bike industry supply chain has ended up like this, where Chiggle are the bigger entity in the deal but there are some odd ones in there. Oracle are owed £445k, how have they not pulled the plug on whatever their contract was for before it got that bad!

    TheDTs
    Free Member

    Some of the distributors are stuck with silly amounts owing to them aren’t they.

    Why would you let them build that sort of debt, Saddleback over £800k, Garmin also! What were their credit control and risk teams doing?

    They didn’t even settle up with the bloody Milk Delivery Person…

    hatter
    Full Member

    What were their credit control and risk teams doing?

    Depends entirely on whether or not WCRC’s credit with those suppliers was insured.

    There are some very big numbers on that list which will be insured and therefore survivable, and some smaller numbers that were not and could end up sinking the business they were owed to.

    The numbers themselves are not the whole story.

    crankrider
    Free Member

    That list is 6 months old though – It remains to be seen how much of this debt has been paid and to who, I imagine some suppliers collected stock unpaid too.

    I imagine a larger guys giving out credit are insured if they do lose big, maybe not though – I agree that there will be a knock-on effect from this though, especially as I can imagine bike companies aren’t flush for cash right now.

    alanl
    Free Member

    “Endura owed quite a bit”

    We were talking about this last week. Endura (and others) must be fuming, they havent been paid, and then,to rub it in even more, their stock is being sold at cost price, so nowhere else in the Country is having any Endura sales, as CRC are so cheap, hence they are not selling any other stuff to anyone else. There is a need for a Contract where it stays your property until the Bill is paid in full. Such Contracts are common in the building industry, if the buyer goes bust, you go to the site to collect your goods back.

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