Economy

JD Sports crosses Finish Line in the race to become global player

JD Sports crosses Finish Line in the race to become global player

JD Sports Fashion (JD.L) is entering the lucrative USA market after agreeing to buy Finish Line Inc (FINL.O) for $558 million (£394 million) in cash, the sportswear retailer said on Monday.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a regular shopper in America that hasn't been inside a Finish Line store at some point, whether it was just to kill time at the mall or to pick up the latest, freshest basketball sneaker on the market. He also added that there is a 75 percent chance that the deal will go through.

Athletic apparel chain Finish Line's (FINL) acquisition by United Kingdom retail giant JD Sports may benefit Nike (NKE), Adidas (ADDYY) and Under Armour (UAA), while creating a savvy new threat to Foot Locker (FL), analysts say. "We are thrilled to partner with them and look forward to realizing the impact we will have on the marketplace together".

The merger still needs approval from shareholders from both companies as well as various regulatory bodies.

JD says the move offers the opportunity to expand its proposition into the "most significant global market".

More news: US charges, sanctions Iranians for global cyber attacks on behalf of Tehran

The investigation concerns whether Finish Line's board failed to satisfy their duties to the Company's shareholders, including whether the board adequately pursued alternatives to the acquisition and whether the board obtained the best price possible for the Company's shares of common stock.

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". Public Employees Retirement System of OH increased its position in shares of Finish Line by 15.9% during the 2nd quarter.

Finish Line trades from 556 of its own branded stores across 44 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, and is also the exclusive retailer of athletic shoes, for USA retail giant Macy's. The companies expect to close the deal by June.

The Finish Line statement said the companies anticipate the combined purchasing power and relationships in North America "to bring a highly differentiated multi-channel retail proposition to the US market".

Sam Sato, Chief Executive Officer of Finish Line, said, "Fourth quarter comparable sales were more challenging than we expected". PJ SOLOMON served as lead financial advisor, Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. served as financial advisor and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP served as legal counsel to Finish Line's Special Committee of the Board of Directors in connection with this transaction.


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