Sports Direct extends ambitions

Sports Direct extends ambitions

The horizons of the highly successful UK sports retailer Sports Direct seem to be continuing to expand with the company understood to be actively evaluating a bid for Kitbag, the sports retailer owned by Findel with a particularly strong position in selling replica sports kits.

Findel has hired KPMG to help it find a buyer for Kitbag, believing it to be non-core to its main mail-order business and seeking to reduce its onerous debt burden. It is thought that the business, which is still loss-making but seeing improving sales, will fetch a price tag of around £20m (US$31m). In particular it would give Sports Direct’s controlling shareholder Mike Ashley greater control over the sale of the kits of Newcastle United, which he owns.

The full extent of interest in Kitbag is not known, but it is thought that Sports Direct is likely to see strong competition for the business from its rival JD Sports, and possibly from others.

Separately Sports Direct has also confirmed that, contrary to some initial reports, it is interested in buying all the LA Fitness gyms which have recently been put up for sale, and for which Fitness First is also making a strong pitch.