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Sports Direct lodges takeover bid for Links of London

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The future of the jewellery chain has been in doubt since its Greek owner, Folli Follie, became embroiled in an accounting scandal in 2018

Sports Direct International Plc (LON:SPD) is once again circling above the UK’s high street, with reports emerging that it has lodged a bid for struggling jewellery retailer Links of London.

According to Sky News, the FTSE 250 firm, headed by tycoon Mike Ashley, is one of two final bidders for Links, which is currently owned by Greek jewellery maker Folli Follie.

Founded in 1990, Links currently has around 395 stores across the world, however, its future was thrown into doubt in 2018 after Folli Follie became embroiled in an accounting scandal.

The news comes just days before Sports Direct’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, where Ashley is expected to face a shareholder revolt over his leadership of the firm.

The group has had a volatile 12 months following its acquisition of defunct department store chain House of Fraser last August, with multiple failed attempts to take control of Debenhams, the resignation of its auditor, Grant Thornton, and a set of “horror show” results in July which unveiled a surprise €674mln Belgian tax bill.

Over the same period, the company has also picked up several other stricken retailers including Evans Cycles, GAME Digital, Sofa.com and Jack Wills, as well as making failed bids for cake chain Patisserie Valerie and HMV.

Sports Direct is also trying to rescue five-a-side pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres, in which it holds an 18.9% stake, after the group was suspended from AIM earlier this year due to a black hole in its accounts.

Despite Sports Direct’s recent history, investors seemed mostly upbeat about the Links bid, with the shares rising 1.5% to 259.5p in late afternoon trading on Monday.

Source - Proactive Investors

Image - © Copyright Billy McCrorie and licensed for reuse under creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

About the author

Philip Scott

Head of Equities, Director

Philip has worked as a Private Client Stockbroker for nearly 20 years, commencing his career in Operations with Rensburg Sheppards (now part of Investec plc) before spending 9 years with Killik & Co advising on and directly managing portfolios. He joined SI Capital in 2006 to head up the Private Client Advisory desk.

Philip is a regular contributor to local media commenting on stock market dynamics and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (MCSI). His RDR qualification gained special recognitionfrom the CISI for achieving the highest combined pass mark in the country for the Investment Advice Diploma in 2012.

“At SI Capital I enjoy being part of a talented team who collectively share the same desire to provide excellence in service.  My focus is to ensure that each client receives effective and optimal management of their assets.”

Philip lives locally, is married with 2 daughters and is an avid sports fan (if now predominantly from the sidelines).  His other interests include music and film.

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