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Volume 10 No. 24


Ministers kicked off a series of events to mark the anniversary of the 2012 London Olympics "by claiming the U.K. economy has benefited" from £9.9B ($15B) in deals and investment linked to hosting the Games, according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The figure is made up of £5.9B ($9B) from business deals brokered at an 18-day conference during the Olympics, £2.5B ($3.8B) from additional inward investment and £1.5B ($2.2B) from contracts "won by companies in countries hosting future sports big events such as Brazil, Russia and Qatar." London Mayor Boris Johnson "will say on Friday" that the Games brought £4B ($6B) of investment into the capital, and that 70,000 people "were helped into Olympic-related employment." Johnson: "London is succeeding where virtually no other host city has, on track to secure a solid gold payback on the taxpayers’ outlay" (FT, 7/18).

Bulgaria's "most successful football club CSKA Sofia looks set to open a new chapter in its illustrious history and become a public company," according to Alexander Krassimirov of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The decision to make a public offering of the club's share was announced by Red Champions group representative Alexander Tomov, who "acquired the shares of the club from the old owners Titan AS." U.K. businessman Laurence Davis "will drive the process towards public listing of the company." The majority shareholder of the club is the Lyra Investment company. It "will retire from the management of the club once it becomes a public company -- a process expected to take a few months" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/18).

Thousands of employees at Sports Direct are set to share a £140M ($213M) bonus pool after the sporting goods retailer reported a 40% rise in full-year pre-tax profit, boosted by last summer's London Games and Euro 2012, according to Saigol & Foy of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Around 2,000 employees, on an annual salary of £20,000 ($30,400) or more, "will each pocket an average of 12,000 shares" -- valued at around £72,000 ($109,000) at Thursday's share price. The "bonus bonanza comes as sales in the year to the end of April rose" 20.9% to £2.19B, led by a 22.7% jump in retail revenue, driving pre-tax profit to £207.2M ($315M). U.K. sports retail sales rose 17.3% in the 52-week period against a pro-forma period in the previous financial year to £1.57B, while retail gross profit rose by 22.9% to £801M (FT, 7/18).

Australian surfwear retailer Billabong Int'l said that "it has rejected a rival refinancing proposal" from lenders Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital Management because "they submitted their bid too late," according to Gillian Tan of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The company "has already agreed to accept a rescue package" offered by a consortium comprising Californian private-equity firm Altamont Capital Partners and Blackstone Group LP's credit arm, GSO Capital Partners. Prior to agreeing to that offer, Billabong said it made "numerous requests" to Centerbridge and Oaktree to submit a rival financing proposal, which it claims never materialized (WSJ, 7/18). BUSINESS WEEK's Kyle Stock reported the package offered by Altamont Capital and Blackstone Group "is complicated," including a $294M bridge loan and a new CEO. Billabong "took the deal and announced the leadership change." Shareholders "will decide on the particulars." The big question remains: "How did such a hot performer ... wipe out so spectacularly?" IG Markets market strategist Evan Lucas said, "They grew too fast and leveraged themselves too hard" (BUSINESS WEEK, 7/18). In California, Connelly & Usheroff reported former Oakley CEO David Scott Olivet will become CEO and managing director, replacing Launa Inman. Altamont parners Jesse Rogers and Keoni Schwartz "will be nominated to the Billabong board." Under the terms of the deal, the Altamont consortium "could wind up owning" 36-40.5% of Billabong (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 7/17).