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JD to sell Canterbury as it inks deal for One True Saxon

JD Sports Fashion is set to sell rugby brand Canterbury to Pentland as it acquires young fashion brand One True Saxon.

The deal, which ends months of discussions, sees the young fashion and sportswear retailer realise £22.7m from its sale of Canterbury to brandhouse Pentland, acquiring One True Saxon for £50,000.Pentland, which owns brands including Speedo, Berghaus and Boxfresh, also holds a 57.47% share in JD.

One True Saxon has gross assets of £600,000 whereas Canterbury’s are valued at £32.6m.

One True Saxon joins JD’s growing stable of brands and retail chains, with the group snapping up young fashion brands such as Fly53 and Fenchurch plus outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure this year.

One True Saxon is set to become an own brand within JD’s fascias. In a statement JD said the acquisition came as part of the group’s strategy of acquiring brands and intellectual property to help support its retail arm. Drapers reported in June that JD was in talks to buy the young fashion brand after it was put up for sale by its owner in April.

JD, which bought the trading assets of Canterbury Europe in August 2009, said it had disposed of the business because it “does not believe that the Canterbury brand will be a key component of the group’s future retail proposition”. Canterbury made a £1.1m loss last year, and all but £1 of Pentland’s offer covers the cost of the company’s debt.

JD noted that a “substantial element” of Canterbury’s revenue and earnings were located in New Zealand and Australia, territories where the sports specialist has “limited operations and which are significantly distant from the core retail focus of the group in the UK and continental Europe”.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Having reviewed the options for Canterbury, we are pleased to have agreed its sale to Pentland on terms which are attractive for JD and provide Pentland with the opportunity to further build and develop the Canterbury brand. Acquiring the One True Saxon brand will allow us to leverage our in-house expertise and offer new products through our core retail fascias.”

The transactions are subject to the approval of JD’s shareholders who will have a meeting this afternoon.

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