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JD Sports explores Footasylum sale following CMA order

Sophie Smith
21 July 2022

JD Sports Fashion is reportedly in exclusive negotiations to sell Footasylum to private equity firm Aurelius Group, according to Sky News.

The group, which also owns Tessuti and Go Outdoors, is said to be attempting to negotiate a sale despite growing difficulties in obtaining financing for corporate deals.

A source told the news agency that Footasylum said the nature of the order from the Competition and Markets Authority meant that JD Sports' status as a forced seller would inevitably reduce the price it hoped to obtain for the chain.

Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority ordered JD in November to sell the business it bought in a £90 million deal in 2019 over competition concerns.

In February 2022, JD Sports and Footasylum were fined a combined £4.7 million over breaching rules stopping the firms working too closely amid their proposed merger last year.

The UK competition regulator said that the two sportswear retailers exchanged “commercially sensitive information” and failed to report this to the watchdog.

The CMA said these actions “had the potential to affect competition in the market and lead to anti-competitive behaviour”. The regulator was also highly critical of the lack of records for these meetings.

The company delayed its full-year results allow auditors more time to comb through the impact an enforced sell-off of Footasylum will have on the business. It confirmed it expects the results to be ahead of market expectations, following a successful sales period through January.

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