Sports Direct thrashes out deal to buy 60 JJB Sports stores

JJB is the latest high-profile retail failure in recession-hit Britain. Photograph: David Moir/Reuters
Sports Direct is thrashing out the final details of a deal that will see it acquire 60 stores belonging to collapsed rival JJB Sports.

The £30m deal will save more than 1,000 jobs at the Wigan-based chain but has taken longer than expected to complete due to competition concerns arising from Sports Direct’s dominant position in the UK sportswear market.

JJB put itself up for sale last month after shareholders refused to pump more money into the stricken retailer, and the looming break-up is expected to involve a pre-pack administration and the closure of a number of its 180 stores. The retailer has 4,000 employees.

Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United FC owner Mike Ashley, is understood to be keen to obtain all 60 stores but wants to avoid being forced to sell them by the competition watchdog at a later date.

To get round that it is expected to take 20 JJB stores immediately, and hold the balance of 40 stores until their purchase has been considered by the Office of Fair Trading. Both Sports Direct and KPMG declined to comment.

JJB is the latest retail failure in recession-hit Britain after Blacks Leisure and discount fashion chain Peacocks went into administration this year. Shareholders are not expected to get payouts on the back of the deal, as shares were worth less than a penny when they were suspended.


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