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Sports Direct stake in Blacks diluted after fundraising approved

Sports Direct has had its stake in Blacks Leisure diluted after the outdoor retailer’s £20m fundraising was approved this afternoon.

Sports Direct had held a 29.9% stake in the business and had blocked Blacks’ original fundraising earlier this year and made a bid for the company.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley voted against the fundraising today, but as Blacks only needed a 50% vote from shareholders in favour of the open offer and share placing it was passed. He did not take up new shares to keep his stake which had given him a blocking vote for some resolutions.  

Blacks will use the new capital to invest in store openings and store re-fits as part of a wider turnaround programme.

Sports Direct withdrew its bid for Blacks over concerns that suppliers would pull out of Blacks if Ashley took control.

Numis retail analyst Andrew Wade said that the dilution of the stake makes the chance of a future bid from Sports Direct “less likely”. He added however: “This is not a sign that he will start taking less strategic stakes.”  

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