Monday 23 September 2019 7:13 am

Mike Ashley kicks off £4m takeover for Goals Soccer Centres

Goals Soccer Centre has said it is discussing a takeover bid with high street tycoon Mike Ashley after his Sports Direct said it wanted to take the company private, valuing it at £3.76m.

Sports Direct, of which Ashley is the main shareholder, said it was offering 5p a share for the just over 80 per cent of Goals’ shares it does not already hold. It values the firm at £3.76m and would make the deal worth just over £3m.

The price is considerably lower than the Goals’ 27.2p closing price on its last day of trading before shares were suspended in March.

In a statement Goals said the issue “remains under discussion” and called the bid “highly caveated”.

Read more: Goals Soccer Centres confirms investigation of former execs over accounting scandal

Wayne Brown, an analyst who covers Sports Direct at Liberum said the deal could allow the retailer to open stores at Goals’ sites.

“This deal, if it proceeds and finalises, is a very sensible one as Sports Direct’s core target customer is very similar to that of Goals with some 100,000 customers per week week,” he said.

The five-a-side football company was suspended earlier this year after an accounting scandal shook the business. In August it announced plans to de-list from the London Stock Exchange after an investigation found “improper behaviour” in its accounts.

The company made a “substantial misdeclaration of VAT”, it announced in March. The figure was estimated to run to £12m.

Last month the Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into former chief executive Keith Rogers and ex-finance chief Bill Gow.

Sports Direct this morning hit out at Goals’ board, saying it was not committed to an extension of Goals’ suspension on London’s junior market AIM.

Read more: Mike Ashley-backed Goals Soccer Centres to de-list from stock market after ‘improper’ accounting

“Sports Direct believes an extension should be achievable if the board of Goals were committed to achieving it – which is something Sports Direct has asked the Goals board to confirm on a number of occasions,” the company said in a statement.

Goals’ market value was £20.46m when it de-listed in March. Shares fell from around 72p to 27p between January and March.

Main image credit: Getty

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