May 6, 2020

JD Sports turns on Mike Ashley as Footasylum deal blocked

JD Sports chairman Peter Cowgill has accused rival retailer Mike Ashley of "Blatantly" furthering his own commercial interests at the expense of customers after the UK's competition watchdog formally blocked its acquisition of smaller rival Footasylum. "At the same time, incredibly, the CMA has been taken in by the self-serving testimony of one notoriously vocal competitor," he added, a reference to Mike Ashley's Sports Direct group. Mr Ashley's company is a potential bidder for Footasylum, a chain of 70 sports and fitness stores that JD Sports will now have to sell to a CMA-approved buyer. JD Sports will be allowed "Sufficient time" to complete the disposal given the impact of the current lockdown on market conditions. There had been some thought that the CMA might soften its stance because of the severe impact that Covid-19 has had on the retail sector and given that Footasylum was already struggling when JD Sports acquired it.

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