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Blacks Leisure may receive takeover approach from Sports Direct

Only a week after blocking a much-needed fund-raising exercise by Blacks Leisure, it has been revealed that Sports Direct is considering making an offer for the company. While the recent history of Blacks Leisure has been volatile to say the least it had appeared only seven days ago that the company had agreed a fund-raising exercise with institutional shareholders only for Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, to step into the fray. The company used its 28.5% stake in Blacks Leisure to block the fund-raising and organise a meeting with management.

Shares in Blacks Leisure rose significantly today with hopes high that a cash offer will be forthcoming in the short term although nothing is guaranteed. Indeed the management of Blacks Leisure may still look to pursue an alternative fund-raising exercise in the absence of a firm offer from Sports Direct.

We are now coming to the end of what has been a very controversial and long-running dispute regarding the 28.5% stake in Blacks Leisure. This had been held by Icelandic bank Kaupthing on behalf of Sports Direct but after the bank collapsed it took some time to confirm ownership of the shareholding, which was built up using complicated financial instruments. Now that Sports Direct has confirmed it is considering a cash bid for Blacks Leisure we are likely to see developments in the short term.

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