Wednesday 30 October 2019 11:54 am

Mike Ashley hits out at competition watchdog over JD Sports probe

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley has slammed the UK’s competition watchdog for its investigation into the merger between JD Sports and Footasylum, saying it has overstated Sports Direct’s share of the market. 

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether JD Sports’ £90m takeover of Footasylum could result in higher prices and reduced competition in the sportswear and footwear sector.

Read more: Watchdog ploughs ahead with investigation into JD Sports’ Footasylum takeover

Documents showed that the regulator said Sports Direct will be the “only retailer with a comparable share of supply to the merged entity”, although it acknowledged that Ashley’s company has a “lack of access” to premium products. 

However, the sports retailer hit back at the claim today, saying the watchdog’s findings “substantially overstate its presence on each of the markets which are the subject of…investigation.”

Ashley said: “I have been watching from the side lines to date and now having had the opportunity of considering the CMA decision, I would now welcome the opportunity to provide the CMA with the correct market data.

“For example, our market share of Adidas Originals in Sports Direct is virtually zero”. 

Last month the CMA confirmed it would plough ahead with a second stage in-depth investigation into the deal.

A CMA spokesperson said: “The CMA has just begun its in-depth examination of this deal. 

Read more: JD Sports buys Footasylum in £90m deal

“As with all its Phase Two inquiries, companies will have ample opportunity to submit any relevant evidence and information for the independent Group to consider.”

The CMA caveated in its phase one investigation documents that the supply share for Sports Direct may be overestimated.

Main image credit: Getty