Who owns ASOS? The shareholders behind fashion retailer as it buys Topshop - including Anders Holch Povlsen

The company's biggest shareholder, Danish billionaire Holch Povlsen, owns land in Scotland

Billionaire Anders Holch Povslen and his wife Anne Holch Povlsen (Getty Images)
Billionaire Anders Holch Povslen and his wife Anne Holch Povlsen (Getty Images)

Fashion giant ASOS has bought Topshop and other Arcadia Group brands in a £295million deal.

The online retailer is acquiring the stock and the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands but is not taking on the stores, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.

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Sir Philip Green's Arcadia empire fell into administration in November 2020 following a drop in sales.

So, who owns ASOS?

Here is everything you need to know about its biggest shareholder, Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, and his connections to Scotland.

When was ASOS founded?

Now one of the largest online shopping websites in the world, ASOS, formerly called As Seen On Screen, was founded in June 2000.

The website was started by Nick Robertson, Andrew Regan, Quentin Griffiths and Deborah Thorpe in London, with current CEO Nick Beighton taking over in 2015.

Since its founding, ASOS has grown exponentially and it now sells more than 800 brands in over 200 markets around the world.

It has been largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic with the rise of online shopping during lockdown, and the online retailer is creating 2,000 new jobs this year at a new £90million warehouse.

Who owns ASOS?

ASOS is a public company, with Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen holding a stake of just over 26 per cent in the British online retailer.

That makes him the biggest single shareholder of ASOS.

According to the retailer, other large shareholders in the company include investment firms T Rowe Price, Capital Group and Baillie Gifford.

Mr Holch Povlsen is also the second biggest shareholder in German online shopping website Zalando.

The 48-year-old is the CEO of his own fashion retailer Bestseller, which sells clothes under 11 brand names including Vero Moda, Noisy May and Jack&Jones.

Mr Holch Povlsen is married to Anne Holch Povlsen, and they had four children together.

Tragically, Alma, Agnes, and Alfred were killed in the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombing attacks, which claimed over 250 lives. Mr Holch Povlsen was himself injured in the terrorist attack, which targeted churches and hotels.

What is Anders Holch Povlsen’s net worth?

Anders Holch Povlsen has a net worth of $11.9billion (£8.6billion), according to Forbes, coming in at number 169 on its rich list.

His fortune comes from being the sole owner of Bestseller, as well as his holdings in ASOS, Zalando, and payments startup Klarna.

Mr Holch Povlsen’s parents opened the family's first retail store in the small town of Ringkobing, Denmark, in 1975.

He took over the business at the age of 28, and Bestseller has continued to grow since then.

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What land does he own in Scotland?

The Danish billionaire is the largest private landowner in Scotland, and is thought to be the biggest individual private landowner in the whole of the UK.

Through his company Wildland Ltd, Mr Holch Povlsen owns 12 estates which total more than 220,000 acres.

He is also the owner of the iconic Jenners building in Edinburgh.

The businessman bought the 42,000-acre Glenfeshie estate in the Cairngorms in 2016 for £8million.

Glenfeshie Lodge, built in the 19th century, is Mr Holch Povlsen’s private Highland home.

It has featured in many well known films and TV series, including The Crown and The Queen.

The Povlsens’ land stretches for miles across Sutherland and the Grampian mountains.

The couple, who regularly visit their Scottish estates, has pledged to "restore our parts of the Highlands to their former magnificent natural state and repair the harm that man has inflicted on them".

Mr Holch Povlsen is thought to be a keen environmentalist and Wildland describes itself as a "landscape-scale" conservation project.

He has spoken repeatedly of his vision to restore parts of Scotland by allowing native woodland and species to regenerate and flourish.