JD swoops for French sportswear chain

Courir, a major European sportswear chain

JD Sports has made an offer to buy Courir, a major French sports retail chain for €325m.

The deal will be subject to consultation with trade unions and the European competition authorities. 

It follows the retail giant’s acquisition of the remaining 20% in its German subsidiary and a proposal to settle its ownership with its business in Spain and Portugal, as part of JDs strategy to simplify its shareholdings and expand the JD name. 

Courir is currently majority owned by private equity firm Equistone which bought it from Groupe Go Sport, but the stores won’t be rebranded as JD. 

After deducting net debt of €195 million, the amount payable at completion, subject to certain adjustments, would be €325 million which would be funded through available cash resources. The net debt of €195 million in Courir principally constitutes existing funding lines of approximately €210 million which would be refinanced at completion.

Based in France, Courir is a leading player in the European sports footwear and apparel sector with 313 stores bannered as Courir across France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands and Luxemburg. 

In addition, there are a further 36 stores which trade under franchise agreements as Courir in North West Africa, Middle East and French overseas territories. Further, there are two stores which trade as Naked in Denmark which is an elevated female sneaker business.

Courir operates stores with a primary focus on a female consumer and JD said it is the intention that Courir would maintain its identity and would run autonomously from JD’s French operations. Leveraging Courir’s extensive knowledge in managing female oriented stores would significantly broaden the capabilities and global opportunities across JD.

For the 52 week period ended 31 December 2022, Courir had consolidated revenues of €609.8 million which included €100.3 million from the combination of the sale of product on a commission basis to the affiliates and other commission income from franchisees, a profit before interest and tax of €47.4 million and gross assets of €678.4 million.

Régis Schultz, chief executive of JD, said: “We said at our recent Capital Markets Event that this was the start of a new, distinct chapter in the growth story of JD. The exciting developments that we are announcing today reflect the strategic priorities that we highlighted on the day.

“We look forward to concluding the contemplated transaction, welcoming the Courir team to the Group and then working with management to fulfil Courir’s global potential. Investing in quality complementary concepts whilst furthering the growth of JD itself is a key strategic pillar for the Group and one which we will continue to pursue in the future.

“Securing greater control over the long-term development of JD and prioritising the development of the JD brand is a key pillar in our growth strategy in Europe. It will give us simpler decision making which will allow us to use our assets with more efficiency. At the same time, it will considerably simplify the group operations. We thank our partners for their contribution to the development of JD across Europe and for their constructive engagement.”

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