Sports Direct is plotting international expansion after buying majority stakes in sportswear retailers based in Austria and the Baltic Region.
The Mike Ashley-owned sportswear business acquired more than half of Sports Eybl & Sports Experts AG (EAG) and Sportland International Group.
Sports Direct has entered into an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in EAG, which will see the company pay €10.5m (£9m) to the current shareholders as well as investing €30m (£25.7m) in subordinated debt.
Sports Direct will also have the rights for five years to buy the remaining shares in EAG for €15.5m (£13.3m).
The Austrian retailer operates two fascias; sports specialist Eybl, which has 29 stores in Austria and one in Germany, and value chain Sports Experts, which has 26 Austrian stores and two in Germany. For the year to August 31 2012, EAG generated revenue of €323.8m (£277m).
Meanwhile Ashley’s business has snapped up a 60% share in Sportland International Group (SIG), which operates the Sportland, Sportland Outlet, Timberland, O’Neill, Nike and Nike Outlet retail chains in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The group has 80 stores and for the year to December 31, 2012 generated revenue of €61.6m (£52.7m)
Are Altraja, co-founder of SIG, said: “With Sports Direct’s operational expertise and financial support we will be able to expand our product offering, introduce more innovation and further enhance our market leadership in the Baltics.”
Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said: “The strategic investments announced today in Austria and the Baltic region represent a continuation of our previously stated European expansion plans.”
He added: “Expected benefits from these investments include increased scale for our international business, growing international awareness of our Group Brands and additional expertise in specialist product categories such as winter sports.”