Private equity tycoon is being linked to a bid for the ailing sports goods chain
JJB Sports is facing fresh speculation after emerging as a possible target of private equity tycoon Jon Moulton, who is best known for his failed attempt to rescue MG Rover. Better Capital, Moulton’s listed buyout firm, has approached JJB’s board and main lender with an offer to buy the troubled company’s debt, according to Sky News. This would in effect hand control to Moulton.
Shareholders are losing patience with the ailing sportswear chain, which last month warned for the umpteenth time that it was running out of cash. Moulton is not the only potential suitor; fund manager Invesco, which owns a 47% stake, is also said to want to buy JJB’s outstanding debt from Lloyds Banking Group so it can force a restructuring. The Wigan-based chain has 180 stores and more than 4,000 employees.
JJB’s plea for more financial support came just four months after it received a £30m injection. Two-thirds of this came from US retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods; major shareholders Invesco, Harris Associates, Crystal Amber and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation stumped up the rest. JJB and Better Capital declined to comment.