Britain's JD Sports to Enter U.S with $558 Million Finish Line Buy

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Britain's JD Sports to Enter U.S with $558 Million Finish Line Buy


Britain's JD Sports Fashion Plc agreed to buy The Finish Line, Inc. for $558 million in cash, a move that will thrust the retailer into the U.S. sports market.

According to Bloomberg, Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International, a U.K. rival of JD Sports, is the second-largest shareholder in Indianapolis-based Finish Line, with a 9.9% stake. The company also holds an indirect interest of 32%, according to a Sports Direct statement on Feb. 20.

Finish Line runs approximately 930 branded locations in U.S. malls and shops inside Macy’s department stores. JD is the leading European retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands. With this acquisition, JD gains a significant physical and online retail presence with direct access in the U.S., which they have long identified as a highly attractive growth opportunity. Together, the two retailers expect to create a global, premium, multichannel retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands who embraces the latest online and in-store digital technology.

“Finish Line has long admired JD and their commitment to serve customers with premium brands through a unique and innovative retail experience,” said Sam Sato, CEO of Finish Line. “We are thrilled to partner with them and look forward to realizing the impact we will have on the marketplace together.”

Upon closing of the agreement, the Finish Line executive team will continue their involvement with the business. The expected timeline to close on this agreement is no earlier than June 2018.

“We are extremely excited to be joining up with Finish Line, a well-established US operator,” said Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD. “The acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for JD to establish its market leading multi-brand proposition in the world’s largest athleisure market. It immediately offers a major presence in the US, a clear next step to further increase our global scale. Finish Line has many similarities to JD with a strong bricks and mortar offering complemented by an advanced and well-invested digital platform. We are looking forward to working with Finish Line’s experienced management team to bring best in class retail theatre to the US. Our combined extensive knowledge of the retail market and our product and marketing relationships with global brand partners will benefit our customers, in turn supporting the continued future growth of JD.”