Sportswear firm JD Sports Fashion today confirmed it is close to landing “certain assets” of the ailing retailer Blacks Leisure.
The company, whose largest shareholder Pentland owns the outdoor brands Berghaus and Brasher, has reportedly offered £20m (€22m) for the majority of the 300 Blacks and Millets stores and will retain many of Blacks’ 3,500 staff. However, it is not expected to want the company’s warehouse and head office.
JD confirmed it is in advanced discussions over an offer for certain assets and said a further announcement would be made on conclusion of the talks.
The deal is likely to be as part of a pre-pack administration, when a company emerges under new ownership following a pre-arranged sale. The process is viewed as controversial because creditors do not have the opportunity to vote against the proposed asset sale.
JD is thought to have beaten Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones, rival Sports Direct, which is owned by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, and outdoor retailer Trespass to land the stores.
Bury-based JD currently has around 350 JD Sports and size? outlets in the UK, plus more than 120 fashion stores under the Bank, Scotts and Cecil Gee names. In 2009 it bought rugby brands Canterbury and Canterbury of New Zealand, as well as The Duffer of St. George and Kooga Rugby brands.
Other names in the Pentland portfolio include Lacoste, Speedo, Mitre, Ellesse and Kickers UK.