Ashley’s move for JJB thrown by new interest

SPORTS DIRECT’S bid for JJB has taken a setback as new offers for the retailer have surfaced, with Mike Ashley’s firm no longer considered the frontrunner for the bid.

Irish consortium Stafford Group has launched a late bid for JJB, while JD Sports and JJB founder Dave Whelan have pulled out of talks, it emerged yesterday.

Developments have led to Sports Direct – considered the most likely buyer of JJB’s business since last week – losing its position as favourite to buy the bulk of the 180 stores, with no clear frontrunner emerging, sources close to the deal told City A.M.
Other parties interested in some or all of JJB’s stores are restructuring firms Hilco and GA Europe and retailers Hargreaves and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Stafford Group, a Dublin-based consortium, acquired Irish retailer Lifestyle Sports in 2005.

The deal is now not expected to be completed until next week.