Jun 19, 2020

JD Sports appeals against Footasylum verdict

JD Sports will appeal against the Competition and Markets Authority decision to block its acquisition of Footasylum in another sign of corporate frustration at the perceived interventionist stance of the regulator. The Competition Appeals Tribunal has yet to publish the summary of notice, which spells out on what grounds JD Sports is contesting the decision, but lawyers expect that it will broadly reiterate the criticisms the company raised during the inquiry. As a result, the CMA said last month that it would require JD Sports to sell Footasylum to an independent bidder in order to avoid a lessening of competition in the market for high-end sports footwear in particular. JD Sports also said the watchdog had failed to take sufficient account of the impact of Covid-19 on Footasylum, which was already in financial difficulties last year when JD Sports acquired it, and that it had been swayed by "Self-serving testimony" from rival Sports Direct. Lawyers said JD Sports would have to meet a high bar to win its case because merger appeals were treated as judicial reviews.

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