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JJB Sports could be bought by private equity tycoon

Struggling sportswear retailer JJB Sports could be set to be bought with private equity tycoon Jon Moulton understood to have offered to buy the chain.

Moulton, through his Better Capital acquisition firm, has approached JJB’s board and main lender Lloyds Banking Group to buy the retailers’ debt, which would effectively hand Moulton control of the company, Sky News reported.

Fund manager Invesco, which owns a 47% stake in the retail chain, has also expressed an interest in the debt in an attempt to force a restructuring of the ailing retailer.

Shareholders have become unsettled over the retailers’ poor performance. JJB held a board meeting to discuss its future earlier this month and is being advised by accountancy firm KPMG on its financial options.

US retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods, which invested £20m into JJB in return for a 3% stake in April, could bring forward a scheduled investment of a further £20m that had been expected next year.

Former La Senza boss Beverley Williams has replaced Keith Jones, who had been chief executive since 2010, on an interim basis.

Analysts believe up to 80 of the firm’s 180 store estate could be shuttered. The Wigan-based firm has 4,000 staff.

JJB and Better Capital declined to comment.

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