Sports Direct yet to agree Blacks deal

SPORTS Direct will have to shelve its takeover bid for Blacks for six months if the two fail to agree on an offer price by Thursday.

Its hopes of merging the retail giants have been put in jeopardy after claims that some key suppliers, including North Face, would not continue to work with Blacks if Sports Direct made a successful takeover.

Blacks said that Sports Direct had accused it of selectively disclosing the information to scupper a deal.

The Takeover Panel has given Sports Direct a “put up or shut up” ultimatum that expires on April 1, which would prevent it from approaching its rival until the end of this year.

Blacks rejected an earlier bid of about £40m.

Sports Direct said any increased offer was dependent on the release of all information about suppliers that might stop dealing with Blacks in the event of a takeover.

Relations between the two groups soured last Friday when Blacks received a letter from Sports Direct threatening to report the supposed selective disclosure to the City’s Takeover Panel.

Blacks said in a statement: “The board of Blacks is confident that there had been no selective disclosure in breach of the Takeover Code as alleged by Sports Direct.”

It is understood Sports Direct is concerned about being seen to overpay for Blacks if suppliers stop supplying once the deal has been completed.

Blacks original plan to raise £22m through a placing and open offer was derailed last month by Sports Direct, which already owns 29 per cent of the British outdoor goods retailer.