Sports Direct and private equity firm Lion Capital are understood to have made separate preliminary approaches to the board of Blacks Leisure about a possible takeover of the company.
Mike Ashley, the founder of and deputy chairman of Sports Direct, already holds a 29% stake in Blacks Leisure, which owns the Blacks, Millets and Fresspirit boardsports chains.
Lion Capital already owns the Cotswold chain, one of Blacks Leisure’s main competitors.
Reports suggest that Ashley and Lion Capital’s interest is opportunistic, following a big slump in the retailer’s share price.
Blacks Leisure is in the middle of a turnaround strategy. It has been improving its Blacks and Millets stores and has cut jobs whilst also seeking a buyer for its under-performing boardsports division.