JD Sports “close to Blacks deal”

Sportswear firm JD Sports Fashion confirmed it is close to landing “certain assets” of the ailing retailer Blacks Leisure.

The company, whose largest shareholder Pentland owns the outdoor brands Berghaus and Brasher, has reportedly offered £20m for the majority of the 300 Blacks and Millets stores and will retain many of Blacks’ 3,500 staff. However, it is not expected to want the company’s warehouse and head office.

JD confirmed it is in advanced discussions over an offer for certain assets and said a further announcement would be made on conclusion of the talks.

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The deal is likely to be as part of a pre-pack administration, when a company emerges under new ownership following a pre-arranged sale. The process is viewed as controversial because creditors do not have the opportunity to vote against the proposed asset sale.

Bury-based JD is thought to have beaten Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones, rival Sports Direct, which is owned by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, and outdoor retailer Trespass to land the stores.