JD Sports reacquires Go Outdoors after calling in administrators

Covid-19 News | Latest News | Mergers & Acquisitions | Retail

JD Sports has bought back its Go Outdoors chain of retail stores for £56.5m, after putting the firm into administration earlier this week.

Go Outdoors employs about 2,400 staff across the country in more than 60 stores – specialising in camping equipment, travel items, bikes and clothes.

JD Sports acquired Go Outdoors in 2016 for £112m, however, the chain has been struggling in recent years, and the impact of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown had pushed the firm into the administration announced earlier this week.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “As a consequence of COVID-19, Go Outdoors was no longer viable as previously structured and would have absorbed capital at an unsustainable rate for the foreseeable future.

“Having investigated all available options for the business, we firmly believe that this restructuring will provide Go Outdoors with a platform from which it can progress whilst remaining a member of the group. Most importantly, we are pleased that it will protect the maximum number of jobs possible.”

TLT acts on rescue of Go Outdoors

A multi-disciplinary and cross-jurisdictional team from TLT has advised administrators on the sale of UK outdoors retailer Go Outdoors to JD Newco 1 Limited, a newly-incorporated subsidiary of JD Sports Fashion plc.

TLT gave strategic advice to Deloitte and the directors of Go Outdoors and supported them on the end-to-end transaction. The deal ensures the continued operation of the business and its assets, which includes 67 stores and a workforce of more than 2,000 employees.

The TLT team encompassed a wide range of expertise, including banking and restructuring, real estate, employment, corporate, commercial and tax in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team was led by partner Alastair Lomax alongside legal director Tom Ward.

Alastair Lomax, partner at TLT, said: “This is a period of untold uncertainty in the retail sector and we are pleased to have supported a transaction which preserves so many jobs and puts the Go business in such a strong position at such a critical time.

“This is a signature restructuring and we will no doubt see a further reshaping of the market as other businesses in the sector take action in response to the unfolding impact of the pandemic.”

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