Sports Direct share price: where now as boss Mike Ashley snaps up Jack Wills?

The British retail group saw its share price climb 2% higher on Tuesday after its boss Mike Ashley beat off rival bids to acquire clothing brand Jack Wills.

Sports Direct agreed to acquire distressed clothing brand Jack Wills on Tuesday in a pre-pack administration deal valued at £12.75 million.

The news helped send Sports Direct’s share price 2% higher to 222p a share as of 15:45 GMT on Tuesday.

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Mike Ashley wins bidding war for Jack Wills

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley out bid EdinburghWoollen Mill Group to acquire Jack Wills from private equity owner BlueGem, adding the clothing brand to his burgeoning high street empire.

As part of the pre-pack administration deal, which sees Jack Wills sold to Sports Direct debt free, all 100 of the brand’s stores in the UK and Ireland, along with its distribution centre and 1700 employees will transfer to Ashley’s retail group.

‘For the past year, we have been focused on improving the Jack Wills proposition and the group’s financial performance,’ Jack Wills CEO Suzanne Harlow said in a statement.

‘Despite significant progress, the challenging trading environment led us to conclude that the company’s long-term future would be best served as part of a larger group and Sports Direct will enable us to do this,’ she added.

Sports Direct continues aggressive inorganic growth plans

The Jack Wills deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Ashley’s retail group, with it buying video game retailer Game Digital in June for £52 million.

The takeover will see the stores renovated into purpose-built gaming arenas for video gamers. The move is in repsonse to changing market conditions that saw Game Digital retail sales slump.

Over the last 12 months, Ashley has also added Evans Cycles and Sofa.com to his portfolio retail brands. However, he failed to successfully acquire Debenhams, HMV and Patisserie Valerie.


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