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ADIDAS AG

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Sports Direct says JD Sports probe could have impact for major brands

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09/20/2019 | 04:39am EDT
FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past Sports Direct store on Oxford Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British sporting goods retailer Sports Direct said on Friday an antitrust investigation into rival JD Sports Fashion's takeover of Footasylum could have implications for the sector's major players, particularly their relationships with "must-have" brands.

Key suppliers to the industry include Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour.

In July the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into JD Sports Fashion's completed 90 million pound acquisition of smaller rival Footasylum.

The regulator said on Thursday it planned to refer the deal to a deeper phase 2 investigation after finding it could lead to a worse deal for customers due to higher prices, poorer choice in stores or reductions in service quality.

It said JD must address its concerns or face the more in-depth probe.

Sports Direct, which is led by founder Mike Ashley, said it had received legal advice that the issues identified by the CMA regarding brand relationships are likely to be a key focus of any phase 2 investigation.

It said the issues are likely to have wider market implications beyond this transaction "as they appear to highlight the power of the 'must-have' brands and potential market-wide practices aimed at controlling the supply and, ultimately, the pricing of their products".

Sports Direct said it would continue to work constructively with all of its third-party suppliers.

Analysts said Sports Direct has long been irked by the major brands favouring JD Sports with their best ranges.

They said that as Sports Direct is pursuing what it calls its "elevation" strategy, seeking to get more access to the major brands' latest and higher tier products, it was in its interests to stir things up with the regulator.

Shares in Sports Direct were up 1.2% at 0741 GMT, while JD was up 0.3%.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ADIDAS AG 0.14% 280.45 Delayed Quote.53.62%
JD SPORTS FASHION PLC 0.63% 763.6768 Delayed Quote.118.12%
SPORTS DIRECT INTERNATIONAL -0.34% 297.2 Delayed Quote.25.23%
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Financials (EUR)
Sales 2019 23 502 M
EBIT 2019 2 715 M
Net income 2019 1 948 M
Finance 2019 992 M
Yield 2019 1,37%
P/E ratio 2019 28,5x
P/E ratio 2020 25,4x
EV / Sales2019 2,29x
EV / Sales2020 2,12x
Capitalization 54 820 M
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 37
Average target price 275,13  €
Last Close Price 279,50  €
Spread / Highest target 18,1%
Spread / Average Target -1,56%
Spread / Lowest Target -27,4%
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Managers
NameTitle
Kasper Bo Rørsted Chief Executive Officer
Igor Landau Chairman-Supervisory Board
Martin Shankland Head-Global Operations
Harm Ohlmeyer Chief Financial Officer
Herbert Kauffmann Member-Supervisory Board
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