JJB raises £31.5m in life-saving share sale

Struggling sportswear retailer JJB Sports has raised £31.5m in a share sale that represents an essential first step towards survival.

The firm, in which America's richest man Bill Gates holds a stake of about 5.5 per cent, said on Monday the cash was raised in a firm placing and a placing and open offer of 630m shares at 5 pence each.

Of the 315m shares in the open offer, acceptances of just 3.7 per cent were received, with the balance of 96.3 per cent allocated to shareholders which backed JJB's firm placing, including its two largest investors Harris Associates and Crystal Amber.

The capital raising was backed by JJB's shareholders.

JJB has said it requires a larger capital raising, in addition to the £31.5m, along with creditor and investor support for a second company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in as many years if it is to avoid going into administration.

The second CVA proposes the closure of up to 95 JJB stores and the retention of a core group of 150 stores.

The firm, which employs about 6,300 staff, is also in takeover talks with thriving rival JD Sports Fashion.

Shares in JJB, which have lost two thirds of their value over the last year, closed on Friday at 3.81 pence, valuing the business at about £37m.