For $558 million UK based JD Sports is set to acquire USA based Finish line to expand JD’s presence into the U.S. sports market. However, Sports Direct International, the rival of JD sports, is the second largest shareholder with a 9.9 percent stake. Sports Direct International Plc. is owned by Mike Ashley and Ashley’s company also holds an indirect interest of 32 percent in Finish Line, according to a statement from Sports Direct on Feb 20.
The acquisition is subject to the approval of JD Sports and Finish Line shareholders and the completion is expected around June. Sports Direct has not commented further on the acquisition.
According to a JD Sports representative, declining to comment specifically on Ashley’s stake said the following:
“It’s up to every shareholder to decide on whether or not to vote in favor of the transaction, which has been unanimously backed by The Finish Line’s board.”
Finish Line operates concessions in Macy’s department stores and this would give JD Sports a significant presence in the US market. The deal which represents a 28 percent premium to Finish Line’s closing price on Friday, is going forward without any significant employee adjustment as the two companies are located in two different continents.
JD Sports Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill also said that the deal will help increase the company’s global presence.
About JD Sports
Founded in 1981, JD Sports engages in the retail of branded sports fashion wear, and outdoor clothing and equipment. Employing around 23584 employees, JD Sports operates through Sports Fashion and Outdoor segments. Headquartered in the UK, JD Sports retails sports and fashion clothing, footwear, and sports and leisure goods, as well as distributes sports clothing and accessories, footwear and apparel, and rugby clothing and accessories.
About Finish Line
Founded in 1976, Finish Line together with its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer of athletic shoes, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and kids in the United States. Employing around 3700 employees, Finish Line offers athletic shoes, as well as an assortment of apparel and accessories of Nike, Brand Jordan, adidas, Under Armour, Puma, and other brands. Headquartered in the US, Finish line operates 573 Finish Line stores in 44 states in the US and Puerto Rico.