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Sports Direct acquires Blacks stake to derail rescue plans

UPDATED: Sports Direct, the sportswear chain, succeeded yesterday in acquiring the rights to a disputed 29% stake in rival sportswear chain Blacks Leisure to vote against its rescue plans.

Sports Direct has been in dispute with Ernst & Young, the administrators of Icelandic bank Kaupthing, over the chain’s stakes in Blacks and JD Sports Fashion, in which Sports Direct says its holds an 11% stake.

In an announcement yesterday, Sports Direct, which is controlled by controversial tycoon Mike Ashley, said it proposed to acquire the Blacks holding “on the basis that the acquisition would be without prejudice” to the ongoing litigation between itself and Ernst & Young.

Sports Direct is expected to vote against Blacks’ proposed rescue plan at its annual meeting on Wednesday. The rescue plan includes a proposed £20m fundraising.   

Last February, Sports Direct made a takeover bid for Blacks but did not disclose that it had lost control of its 29.9% stake in the outdoor retailer.

Blacks subsequently reported Sports Direct to the Financial Services Authority for allegedly breaking City rules.

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