JJB Sports survival hopes dealt blow
on 10/09/2012 14:47:45
Private equity firm Better Capital, founded by venture capitalist Jon Moulton, did not submit a bid by the Friday deadline, the Financial Times said.
However, sources close to the situation said significant levels of interest had been expressed in the sale of the business and several companies, both trade and private equity, had requested information.
JJB Sports, which employs 4,000 staff, was valued at less than £1 million today after shares fell a further 20% amid fears that a buyer will not be found and it will be placed in administration.
The Wigan-based company, which has 180 stores, put itself up for sale after failing to secure the funds needed to overhaul its stores and warned that shareholders, who include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, may see their stakes wiped out in any rescue deal.
Meanwhile, JJB founder Dave Whelan reportedly said he would not make an offer for the retailer but would instead look to pick up individual stores if JJB was bought or fell into administration.
Other companies interested in the business are thought to include private investment firm OpCapita and French sporting goods retailer Decathlon.
Turnaround-focused Better Capital, which was set up by Mr Moulton in 2009 after he left private equity firm Alchemy Partners, bought its first high street name earlier this year when it acquired a majority stake in British fashion chain Jaeger.
JJB secured its most recent lifeline just four months ago when it landed £20 million from US retailer Dick's Sporting Goods and a further £10 million from existing shareholders.
It earmarked £20 million of the most recent funding on converting 60 of its most important stores in 2012 and 2013 into a new format that during trials produced much-improved sales and margins.
But it admitted last month that continued poor trading meant it would need additional funds for the programme sooner than it had expected.