Sports equipment retailer Sports Direct International has acquired a majority shareholding in fashion brands USC and Cruise Clothing after agreeing a £7 million deal with the owner of both companies, Sir Tom Hunter.
A statement from Sports Direct today reveals that Hunter will maintain a 20 per cent stake in each business and stay on as Chairman in both cases, and he believes the acquisitions “transform the prospects” for both USC and Cruise in light of the difficult trading conditions on the high street.
The new partnership will see Hunter, who recently sold shoe specialist Office in a deal worth around £150 million, provide strategic guidance in relation to Sport Direct’s new Premium and Luxury Lifestyle division, while up to £20 million will be made available to develop operations at USC and Cruise in the years ahead.
Sir Tom said: “I’ve known the Sports Direct team for many years and have huge respect for their talent and look forward to co-investing with them.
“Sports Direct has a truly exceptional track record in building partnerships with its customers and its staff.”
CEO of Sports Direct Dave Forsey confirmed that USC and Cruise will remain independent of their new majority shareholder, and suggested that both parties will be able to benefit from the collaboration.
“We are pleased to be taking this opportunity to work with Tom and his teams in the premium and luxury sector of the market,” he explained.
USC’s turnover in the 12 months to January 30th 2011 was £70 million, and the retailer currently has 38 stores across the UK, with two new outlets scheduled to open this autumn.
Cruise has ten stores in the UK, an annual turnover of around £20 million and was acquired by Hunter last December after the business fell into administration.