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UK's CMA approves JD Group's acquisition of Go Outdoors

RBR Staff Writer Published 19 May 2017

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved JD Sports Fashion's £112m acquisition of Go Outdoors Topco.

The competition watchdog has unconditionally approved the merger after completing an investigation into the deal.

In November 2016, the sports-fashion retailer JD Group completed a takeover of Go Outdoors Topco in an all-cash deal which also assumed a net debt of around £16m.

However, the merger was put on hold after the CMA launched a probe in December 2016. This, was after the watchdog expressed doubts that the transaction could affect competition in the UK sports retail market.

JD Group believes that the acquisition of Go Outdoors will complement its existing product offering in the outdoor market.

JD Group executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: "I am pleased with the outcome of the CMA's investigation and delighted to welcome Go Outdoors to the JD Group.

“Go Outdoors will make an excellent addition to the existing JD Outdoor business and I am confident that it will build upon Blacks', Millets' and Tiso's recent success on the high street and strengthen our consumer proposition within the Outdoor sector."

An omnichannel retailer with presence throughout the UK, Go Outdoors had 58 stores when the acquisition was announced. The majority of its stores are situated in out-of-town retail parks.

Go Outdoors, which was established in 1998, by Paul Caplan and John Graham is headquartered in Sheffield. It is backed by YFM Equity Partners and, recently by the 3i Group.

At the time of its acquisition, Go Outdoors had reported revenues of £202.2m with operating profit of £6.1m and gross assets of £76.4m for the 53 week period ended 31 January 2016. Its takeover would also mark the exit of its founders.

Image: A JD Sports store in Bullring, Birmingham, UK. Photo: courtesy of ReissOmari/Commons.wikimedia.org.