Sports Direct acquires 5 per cent stake in Amer Sports

Retailing giant Sports Direct has retraced its steps along the acquisition trail with the euro48.2 million (£36 million) purchase of a near 5 per cent stake in Finnish sports equipment company, Amer Sports.

The cut-price deal came less than three months after it sold its 12 per cent stake in the business for €167 million (£116 million), citing financial reasons. Sports Direct paid approximately €13.5 per share for its current interest in Amer, compared with the €19 paid in the November transaction.

Majority owned by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, Sports Direct went public in February 2007 and has been acquiring aggressively since, with the purchase of US boxing equipment manufacturer Everlast and 60 per cent of outdoor clothing and equipment company Field & Trek.

Critics have described Ashley’s approach to deal-making as scatter gun, calling into question the company’s acquisition strategy. This was fuelled by Sports Direct’s financial interest in Umbro, the teamwear specialist. Ashley raised the company’s stake in Umbro to almost 30 per cent in October, in a move that would prevent Nike becoming a majority shareholder in the kit manufacturer. Ashley then sold two-thirds of the stake to Nike for £56.1 million and has since agreed to back Nike’s offer for Umbro with its remaining 10 per cent stake. The company has not disclosed the profit it made on the Umbro shares.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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