NEWS

Sports Direct poised to acquire parent company of Express Gifts

Published on: 5th March 2019

Mike Ashley’s retail empire has bought £9.66m worth of shares in Findel from single shareholder City Financial Absolute Equity Fund.

The move means that Sports Direct’s stake in Findel has risen from 29.9% to 36.8%, well over the threshold that means Ashley’s company must make a takeover bid. Under the Takeover Code, Sports Direct must now make a cash offer for the remaining Findel shares at a price of 161p, valuing the online retail business at almost £140m. A stock market announcement said Sports Direct would make the offer through an Offer Document and Form of Acceptance.

Sports Direct, of which Ashley is the founder and majority owner, has been a major shareholder in Findel since September 2015. The firm has carried out successful pilot commercial tests of Sports Direct-licensed clothing brands on Findel’s Express Gifts, which trades online as Studio.co.uk. Sports Direct and Findel have also further developed the commercial supply arrangements between Express Gifts and Sports Direct.

“Sports Direct continues to recognise the value and quality of the Findel business, and sees the offer as an opportunity to give increased support to Findel to maximise the value of its existing business,” the stock market announcement read. “The offer is as an effective way of expanding the commercial arrangements between Sports Direct and Findel, and giving Sports Direct increased exposure to the future growth of the Findel business.”

Sports Direct added that it “intends to work closely with Findel to expand their existing commercial arrangements for the benefit of both companies”.

It also said it had no intention to make any changes to the Findel’s business and the employment of Findel’s staff and management, stating: “…it is expected that there will be no repercussions on employment or the locations of Findel’s places of business, including on the location of Findel’s headquarters and headquarters functions.”

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