Mike Ashley’s Sport’s Direct has continued to push international investment raising its stakes in US companies Iconix and Finish Line.
Renowned for buying up stakes in rival retailers, Sports Direct now owns a 12.23 per cent stake in Iconix, a brand licensing company which owns brands Lee Cooper, Umbro and Ed Hardy.
The retailer also invested in “strategic stakes” in sportswear retailer Finish Line, which owns 660 stores across the US. The Financial Times estimates his overall investment to total around $95 million (£73.09) in the two companies.
Shareholders have previously expressed their opposition to Ashley’s investment across the pond, urging the controversial billionaire to instead focus on getting Sports Direct back on track in the UK, following a tumultuous year.
“The main rationale for these stakes is to allow Sports Direct to hopefully build a relationship and develop commercial partnerships with the relevant parties,” the retailer said.
“They also help the company to build relationships with key suppliers and brands.”
This is not Ashley’s first foray into the US, having bought two outdoor retailers Eastern Outfitters and Eastern Mountain Sports.
Closer to home, Sports direct recently edged up its stakes in Debenhams to 17 per cent, as well as owning an 11 per cent stake in ailing fashion brand French Connection.