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That meddling Sugden: Sports Direct rival sold to Fanatics


Sports Direct’s attempts to hinder Findel’s sale of Kitbag have failed, as home shopping group Findel prepares to sell its sporting goods arm to American sporting specialist, Fanatics. 

Sports Direct have made several attempts to influence Findel, including buying up company shares and attempting to place Ben Gardner, a Sports Direct representative, on the board of directors. Sports Direct had also tried to purchase Kitbag, a source of competition in the UK, without success. 

Kitbag will be sold for £11.5m, subject to Fanatics’ working capital position once the deal reaches completion. When the deal has been finalised, the presence of a multi-national competitor in the UK will be bad news for Sports Direct. 

“We believe that this transaction represents a good outcome for all concerned,” said Findel CEO David Sugden. “As Kitbag builds upon its strengthened position, it will benefit from the expertise and international presence in this marketplace that Fanatics offers. 

As for Findel, this deal will strengthen our balance sheet and significantly reduce our average working capital requirement, which is consistent with our ambition to focus our resources more fully on driving growth within our core home shopping and education businesses.” 

Fanatics operates from Florida and its owner Michael Rubin was valued at $3.1bn in June 2014. 

“We could not be more excited to work with the Kitbag team to build upon their multichannel capabilities, expertise in soccer and strong portfolio of partners to accelerate both our US and international growth,” said Doug Mack, CEO at Fanatics. 

“Fanatics and Kitbag are a nearly perfect complement, creating a complete platform for sports fans, leagues, teams and manufacturers globally, which will grow the licensed sports industry.” 

Published on Tuesday 02 February by Philip Gallagher

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