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JD Sports Fashion linked to full bid for JJB

JD Sports Fashion is reported to have met with JJB Sports to discuss its stake building in the mainstream sportswear chain, fuelling speculation JD Sports Fashion is considering making a bid for JJB.

According to The Times newspaper, JD Sports Fashion finance director Brian Small met JJB chairman Roger Lane Smith and its chief executive Chris Ronnie yesterday morning, where Small was reported to have confirmed JD was “considering all its options” in relation to the stake it bought in the chain earlier this week.

JD Sports Fashion bought a 10.2% stake in JJB for £8.1 million on Monday. At the time JD Sports Fashion said it had made the purchase because of JJB’s “important place in the performance sports retail market”. Sources told Drapers that Pentland Group, which is the majority shareholder in JD Sports Fashion, had driven the stake building. Pentland is also a supplier to both companies.

A spokesman for JD Sports Fashion said the company would not comment on speculation.

Separately JJB is understood to be in negotiations to sell its health club business to the chain’s founder Dave Whelan for around £100m.

JJB Sports posted huge losses for the six months to July and has since run into further difficulties following the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which held a stake in the business. JJB suppliers have also struggled to get credit insurance on the firm.

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