Deadline for Blacks bids draws closer as

Kasmira Jefford
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SPORTS DIRECT, the retailer controlled by the billionaire football tycoon Mike Ashley (pictured), is understood to be one of four interested buyers expected to place a bid for the ailing outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure within the next two days.

Blacks, which put itself up for sale last month after failing to secure extra funding, is expected to be sold in a controversial pre-pack administration, whereby assets are sold off debt-free ahead of a formal administration process.

While the other bidders are unknown, City A.M understands that Blacks’ rival Go Outdoors has expressed interest in some of the group’s brands and its stores, especially in city centres where the out-of-town retailer is looking it expand its presence.

Mountain Air and Edinburgh Woollen Mills, which bought a third of collapsed retailer Jane Norman’s stores in June, are also said to have registered an interest with Blacks’ sale adviser, KPMG.

The debt-laden company, which owns brands including Millets and Peter Storm and employs 3,500 people, has seen its share price plummet from 42p at the beginning of last year to 0.88p yesterday, leaving the company valued at just £0.84m.

It recently warned that its full-year performance would be worse than expected after dire trading conditions.

All parties declined to comment or were unavailable.