Sports Direct expands into Austria and the Baltics

Sports Direct has announced that it is to expand internationally with the acquisition of majority stakes in two European sporting goods retailers.

The group has entered into an agreement to acquire a 51% equity stake in Sports Eybl & Sports Experts (EAG), the leading sporting goods retailer in Austria, for €10.5 million plus an agreed €30 million investment in the business.

Under the deal, Sports Direct will have the right to acquire the remaining shares in the company for €15.5 million during the next five years, while the current owners will also have the right to sell their remaining shares to Sports Direct for €5 million.

EAG’s wholly owned subsidiary, Sport Eybl & Sports Experts GmbH, operates two fascias. These include Eybl, which is marketed as Austria’s largest sports specialist, and Sports Expert which is focused on the value segment. Ebyl operates 29 stores in Austria and one in Germany while Sports Expert has 26 Austrian stores and two German outlets.

Sports Direct has also acquired 60% of Sportland International Group (SIG), the largest sporting goods retailer in the Baltic region.

SIG operates the Sportland, Sportland Outlet, Timberland, O’Neill, Nike and Nike Outlet retail chains in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In the 12 month period ending 31 December 2012, SIG generated revenue of €61.6 million.

Commenting on the acquisitions, Dave Forsey, chief executive of Sports Direct, said: “The strategic investments announced today in Austria and the Baltic region represent a continuation of our previously stated European expansion plans. Expected benefits from these investments include increased scale for our international business, growing international awareness of our Group Brands and additional expertise in specialist product categories such as winter sports.”


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