SPORTS Direct founder Mike Ashley is looking to expand his retail empire after joining several suitors in considering a bid for Evans Cycles.
Private equity group Active Capital hired Canaccord Genuity last year to find a buyer for the cycling specialist, which has 56 stores and employs around 1,200 people.
Sports Direct is understood to be eyeing an offer for the company as a means of tapping into the UK’s growing cycling market.
Evans Cycles has benefited from a surge in the popularity of cycling over the last few years following Britain’s successes in 2012 in the Tour De France and at the Olympics. Its earnings surged 47 per cent to £5.7m in the year to November 2013, with sale up 8.7 per cent to £114m, according to the most recent accounts on Companies House.
Retailers including Halfords and Wiggle are also said to have examined a bid for the group.