JD Sports in talks to sell Footasylum to Aurelius
A sale would signal an end to the long fight to incorporate the smaller footwear peer into JD’s business portfolio after it bought it in 2019 in a £90 million deal.
However, the merger was the subject of a in-depth probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that began later that year.
Last November, the antitrust regulator directed JD to sell Footasylum after ruling the takeover could lead to "a substantial reduction in competition”.
The CMA also forced JD’s hand further after fining both businesses a combined £4.3 million for breaching an order that prevented both the merged firms from integrating further.
Sources now suggest that JD Sports’ position as a ‘forced seller’ has reduced the price of the deal. They also said terms of the prospective transaction and its timetable were unclear.
JD Sports and Aurelius declined to comment.
Meanwhile, JD Sports is also under scrutiny from the CMA in relation to the sale of Rangers FC replica kit. It may also be facing a hefty penalty after the watchdog found it broke rules by fixing retail prices of some Rangers FC branded clothes.
Analysts say the battles with the CMA were part of the reasons for the ousting of its chair Peter Cowgill in May. Andy Higginson, the former Morrisons chairman, has since been installed as Cowgill's non-executive replacement. A search for a new chief executive is under way.
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