Sports retailer JD Sports has today confirmed that it is in advanced stages of a takeover deal with outdoor apparel and equipment trader Blacks Leisure.
Press reports over the weekend suggested that JD Sports was in pole position to acquire the ailing business after it admitted that several interested parties had made offers to take control of the brand and all of its assets.
Last week Blacks announced that it would enter administration just before concluding any deal, a so-called pre-pack administration, in an attempt to save jobs and preserve the structure of the business.
In a statement released today, JD Sports said: “JD notes the press speculation in relation to a potential offer for the assets of Blacks Leisure Group plc (“Blacks”) and the recent announcement made by Blacks, and confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Blacks in relation to an offer for certain of its assets.
“A further announcement will be made on conclusion of those discussions.”
When Blacks revealed its intention to find a buyer for the business, JD’s sports retail rival Sports Direct was thought to be favourite to stage a takeover, being a major shareholder in the firm.
Sports Direct, owned and run by Mike Ashley, had been exerting increased influence over Blacks in recent months and was thought to covet its extensive logistics network, but pulled out of any acquisition in mid-December.
Blacks has been struggling to repay its debt due to consistently poor trading, and in November the retailer issued a profits warning after sales slumped in the first half of its financial year.