SORTS Direct says it is considering a takeover offer for Blacks Leisure.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, which has brands including Slazenger and Dunlop, already owns almost 30 per cent of Blacks shares.
It said it is "evaluating a possible cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Blacks".
The company, which also owns Sports World stores, emphasized that an offer was not inevitable.
The Blacks Leisure group includes Blacks Stores, as well as Millets and Freespirit.
Last week Sports Direct used its shares to block a cash call by Blacks.
Blacks recently said it was on a "much stronger footing" after it closed 87 loss-making stores and reported good Christmas trading.