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Blacks rejects Sports Direct bid

Blacks Leisure, the outdoor retailer, has rejected a takeover offer from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct as “wholly inadequate”.

Blacks, which operates the eponymous and Millets fascias, has been a target for Sports Direct for some time. On March 2, Sports Direct said it was evaluating a possible cash offer for the retailer, which was seen as an attempt to derail a £20m fundraising by Blacks to invest in store refurbishments and drive growth. Blacks went ahead with separate fundraising plans anyway.

In a statement this morning, Blacks said: “The board is of the view that, having blocked the proposed fundraising despite being offered full pre-emptive participation in it, Sports Direct is now attempting to transfer that potential shareholder value from shareholders to Sports Direct.  

“Accordingly, the board continues to consider the implementation of a fundraising for the company to be in the best interest of shareholders as a whole and therefore intends to pursue, as soon as practicable, a pre-emptive fundraising which would be structured in such a way as to only require an ordinary resolution being passed (requiring a simple majority of shares being voted on the resolution).”

Sports Direct offered 62p in cash for each Blacks ordinary share. Blacks said the board “having consulted with its advisers, has rejected the indicative offer as being wholly inadequate”.

Sports Direct subsequently confirmed that it had made a bid for the business in a letter that contained an indicative, non-binding offer for all of Blacks share capital that it does not currently own.

It said in a Stock Exchange statement today that it approached the Blacks board “with a view to seeking its recommendation of an offer at this level and was disappointed that such recommendation has not been forthcoming at this stage”.

Sports Direct added: “It continues to hope that the board will recognise the merits of an offer which, if made, it believes would be highly attractive for Blacks shareholders, particularly in the context of Blacks’ share price performance over the past twelve months, providing certainty, in cash, at a price exceeding the highest closing price for Blacks shares over that period.”

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