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Sports Direct ups stake in Umbro

Sports Direct has upped its stake in Umbro to 29.9% sparking speculation it may try to thwart Nike's takeover of the sports brand.

Nike had an offer of £295 million for the brand recommended by the board last week. Its offer was made through a scheme of arrangement and needs to garner the support of shareholders representing 75% of the equity to succeed.

However Sports Direct's new shareholding means it could effectively block the takeover or force Nike into paying more for the business. 29.9% is the most it can hold without launching a counter offer for Umbro, but Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley could still enter a takeover battle.

Nike's proposed takeover of Umbro has already won crucial support of the Football Association - Umbro has the contract to produce football shirts for the England team. However Sports Direct rival JJB Sports also built a 10.12% stake in the company last month to give it a say in any negotiations and it is unclear whether JJB will support Nike's offer.


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