Sports Direct lodges takeover bid for Links of London

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, 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

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