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Blacks heads towards pre-pack administration


Outdoor equipment and apparel retailer Blacks Leisure has admitted today that it has not and does not expect to receive offers for equity in its business, despite it still looking for buyers of at least part of the group.

The company has been thrown into disarray by dismal trading and an inability to raise sufficient funds to keep the business going, and last week came further bad news when major shareholder in the firm and fellow retailer Sports Direct withdrew its interest in an acquisition.

Blacks, which owns the Blacks Outdoor & Millets fascias, invited takeover offers on December 7th 2011 and despite reported interest from a number of different parties, it now looks likely that the business will be broken up in a pre-pack administration.

A statement from the retailer read: “Following that announcement, a number of parties have submitted indicative offers to acquire the whole or substantially all of the trade, assets and brands of the group.

“However, the board notes that it does not have and does not now expect to receive an offer for the shares of Blacks Leisure. Accordingly the Takeover Panel has confirmed that the company is now out of an offer period.

“Blacks Leisure continues to hold discussions with a number of selected parties with a view to concluding the sale process in January 2012. Based on the level of indicative offers received, it is most unlikely that any value will be attributable to the ordinary shares.”

Shares in Blacks have lost 95 per cent of their value over the last 12 months, and with shares closing yesterday at 1.75 pence, the business is now valued at just £1.5 million.

Debt for the firm currently stands at £36 million but in its statement today it made clear that its lender, Bank of Scotland, remains supportive of the continued sale process.

A profits warning was issued by the retailer at the end of November after trading weakened ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period. In the first half of its financial year the group’s pre-tax losses doubled to £16 million and its like-for-like sales declined 7.2 per cent year-on-year.

Published on Friday 23 December by Editorial Assistant

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