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Sports Direct to buy Irish retailer Heatons

Sports Direct has struck a deal to buy Irish department store chain Heatons for €47.5m (£35m).

The Mike Ashley-owned chain, which already owns 50% of Heatons, has agreed to acquire an additional stake in its holding company Warrnambool from minority shareholder Sandra Minor.

It has also entered into a conditional put-and-call option agreement with company directors Mark and Hugh Heaton – sons of Bertie Heaton, who founded the eponymous chain in 1946 – managing director John O’Neill, Warrnambool and technology firm Katipo Limited to acquire the remaining shares.

Heatons, which stocks men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing, and homewares, has 44 stores in the Republic of Ireland and 10 in Northern Ireland. 

Headquartered in Tallaght, Dublin, Heatons was family run until O’Neill joined in 1986. Today it employs 2,000 people across Ireland.

Many of its stores have SportsWorld or Sports Direct-branded sections.

Warrnambool, which also operates five Sports Direct franchise stores in Northern Ireland, made a pre-tax profit of €10m (£7.3m) for the year ending April 30, on consolidated revenue of €219.3m (£161m).

Sports Direct said the takeover would be funded from its existing cash flow and bank facilities. It is subject to clearance from Irish competition authorities.

Last week Sports Direct bought an 18.9% stake in home shopping business Findel, owner of online sports retailer Kitbag.

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