Sports Direct in swoop for stake in Blacks

RETAILER Sports Direct is circling for a disputed 29 per cent stake in rival Blacks Leisure.

Sports Direct's subsidiary is looking to acquire the rights as well as an 11 per cent holding in JD Sports Fashion from the administrators of collapsed bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

The move would allow the FTSE 250 group controlled by billionaire Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to vote against Blacks’ fundraising plans at the group’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

“If such rights in the shares are acquired, currently intends to vote against the resolutions proposed by Blacks at its general meeting convened for 24 February, however this remains subject to review and final determination by the board of directors of prior to that general meeting being held," the group said in a statement.

Blacks is looking to raise £22m through a share placing and open offer and use the proceeds to speed up its recovery plan and open 35 new stores.

Administrators Ernst & Young took control of the two stakes last October after their acquisition was part-financed by the collapsed bank.

This set off a legal battle as to who owned the shares.

Last February Sports Direct launched a takeover bid for Blacks without disclosing it had lost its 29.9 per cent stake in the retailer. Blacks retaliated by reporting Sports Direct to the City watchdog for allegedly breaking City rules.