Sports Direct pulls bid for Blacks Leisure

City A.M. Reporter
SPORTS Direct yesterday said it would not bid for Blacks Leisure because it couldn’t be sure that suppliers would support such a move, ending an increasingly hostile takeover battle.

Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club boss Mike Ashley, said it was aware certain key suppliers would not support a takeover and said that meant it was difficult to put a proper value on Blacks.

“Without clarification in relation to this issue, Sports Direct has been unable to finalise its views on the value of any potential offer,” Sports Direct said.

“Accordingly, Sports Direct has determined that it would not be in its shareholders’ interests to make an offer for Blacks at this time.”

Sports Direct had been set a takeover deadline of 1 April to make a bid or walk away. The group owns about 28.5 per cent of Blacks.

Blacks, which runs the Blacks Outdoor and Millets chains, had said it preferred its own plan to raise funds and Sports Direct said yesterday it noted this intention.

“Sports Direct has consistently sought to at least maintain its interest in shares representing approximately 28.5 per cent of Blacks’ issued ordinary share capital,” it said. “This continues to be Sports Direct's intention.”

Shares in Sports Direct closed down one per cent at 107.1p.