Sports Direct acquires stakes in European retailers


Sports products & clothing retailer Sports Direct has announced today that it has acquired majority stakes in two European sporting goods retailers as it continues with expansion plans.

Acquiring a 51 per cent equity stake in Austrian retailer Sports Eybl & Sports Experts (EAG), the retailer paid €10.5 million (£9 million) to shareholders as well as a €30 million investment in EAG‘s unsubordinated debt.

Upon completion, Sports Direct may acquire the remaining shares from the Ebyl family for €15.5 million though the family also has the right to sell remaining shares to Sports Direct for €5.0 million during this period.

Divided into two categories, the Ebyl property portfolio comprises regular format stores and mega stores, with the latter generating around 49 per cent of total group sales and, in the 12 months ended August 31st 2012, EAG reported revenue of €323.8 million.

“Eybl has a proud heritage as a family owned business and Austria‘s leading sporting goods retailer,” said Catrin Aschenwald-Eybl.

“Eybl and Sports Expert are strategically positioned in the premium and value segments, and we are committed to providing our loyal customers with a compelling product offer and customer service at attractive prices.

“We are delighted to have secured Sports Direct as our strategic partner.”

Meanwhile, Sports Direct has also acquired a 60 per cent stake in Baltic retailer Sportland International Group (SIG) the leading sports retailer in the region.

Subject to “various conditions”, the transaction is set to be completed by June 30th 2013 and will see Sports Direct work alongside the retailer which operates the Sportland, Sportland Outlet, Timberland, O‘Neill, Nike and Nike Outlet retail chains in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

SIG Group includes AS Jalajälg, which is the official wholesale distributor of Nike products in the Baltics and, in the 12 months to March 31st 2012, SIG saw revenue of €61.6 million.

Sports Direct CEO Dave Forsey said that the move represents an important development in the retailer‘s long-term strategy.

He commented: “The strategic investments announced today in Austria and the Baltic region represent a continuation of our previously stated European expansion plans.

“Expected benefits from these investments include increased scale for our international business, growing international awareness of our Group Brands and additional expertise in specialist product categories such as winter sports.

“We are delighted to be working with strong local partners such as the Eybl Family, Are Altraja and Anti Kalle and have every confidence in their ability to grow their businesses in Austria and the Baltics.”