JD Sports to buy The Finish Line

JD Sports Fashion has agreed to buy US retailer The Finish Line for £396 million.

Finish Line is one of the largest retailers of premium multi-branded athletic footwear, apparel and accessories in the United States.

Finish Line trades from 556 Finish Line branded retail stores across 44 US states and Puerto Rico in addition to a well-established multi-channel offering. Finish Line is also the exclusive retailer of athletic shoes, both in-store and online for Macy’s, one of the US’ premier retailers, operating 375 branded and 188 unbranded concessions within Macy’s stores.

It offers JD Sports the opportunity to expand its market leading elevated proposition into the most significant global market. It immediately gains the benefit of a significant physical and online retail presence and increases the importance of the Company to its major international brand partners. On completion of the Acquisition, the Company will focus on bringing JD’s highly differentiated multi-channel retail proposition to the US market.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD, said: “We are extremely excited to be joining up with Finish Line, a well-established US operator. The acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for JD to establish its market leading multi-brand proposition in the world’s largest athleisure market.

“It immediately offers a major presence in the US, a clear next step to further increase our global scale. Finish Line has many similarities to JD with a strong bricks and mortar offering complemented by an advanced and well-invested digital platform. We are looking forward to working with Finish Line’s experienced management team to bring best in class retail theatre to the US. Our combined extensive knowledge of the retail market and our product and marketing relationships with global brand partners will benefit our customers, in turn supporting the continued future growth of JD. This is a landmark day for JD and will be transformational for the business.”

Bill Carmichael, chairman of the special committee and lead director of the Finish Line Board of Directors said: “The Special Committee appointed by the Finish Line board recommended and the board voted unanimously to approve entering into this merger agreement. With JD, Finish Line achieves immediate value for its shareholders and moves into a stronger position to compete as part of a global enterprise that leads in our industry.”

Sam Sato, chief executive officer of Finish Line, said: “Finish Line has long admired JD and their commitment to serve customers with premium brands through a unique and innovative retail experience. We are thrilled to partner with them and look forward to realizing the impact we will have on the marketplace together.”

Finish Line is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange with a market capitalisation of approximately $425 million (approximately £301 million) and employs around 3,700 full0-time and around 9,300 part-time staff
Completion of the deal is expected to take place no earlier than June 2018.

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