Sports retailer Sports Direct has bought the "collapsed youth fashion chain Republic" in a deal that analysts estimate to be worth between £10M ($15.2M) and £15M ($22.8M), according to Duncan Robinson of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The company will acquire 116 of Republic’s stores, "the bulk of its stock and its online business" after the fashion retailer fell into administration in February. Analysts at Citi suggested that the inventory Sports Direct has taken on "could be worth more than the total of cost of the deal." Sports Direct, which has about 400 stores in the U.K., has come to "dominate sports retailing in the U.K., seeing off competitors JJB and JD Sports to become the largest in the U.K." Sports Direct Founder EPL Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley sold about £100M ($152M) worth of shares in his company earlier this week (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/28). In London, Marcus Leroux wrote Sports Direct is "keen on acquiring fashion brands and retailers with trading relationships with fashion brands, as it attempts to move beyhond discounted sportswear." It formed a lifestyle division last year with the acquisition of an 80% stake in Tom Hunter’s fashion businesses Cruise and USC. It also bought JJB Sports’ stock, as well as 20 stores, "when its smaller rival went into administration last year" (LONDON TIMES, 2/28).
Super League rugby side Wakefield Trinity Wildcats "face a six-figure hole in their budget after their main sponsor Eric France went bust." The scrap metal business ceased trading on Wednesday with debts of £22M ($33.4M) (BBC, 2/28). ... Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov "has sold part of this stake" in Russian Internet company Mail.ru, fueling speculation that the Arsenal shareholder "will use the proceeds to make an acquisition in the telecoms, media and Internet sector" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/28).