Sports Direct boss suffers new blow as Findel shareholders reject £130m takeover bid

Mike Ashley

Shareholders at Lancashire based Findel Group have roundly rejected Sports Direct’s £130m takeover bid.

Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, launched the takeover bid in March after he raised his stake in the online retailer which has bases in Manchester and Accrington.

The Sports Direct tycoon’s company agreed to buy shares in Findel worth £9.7m, taking its stake in Findel from 29.9% to 36.8%.

A second deadline has passed and just 0.01% of Findel’s shareholders have accepted the offer which values shares at £1.61.

Mike Ashley, who has endured a difficult month, still has the option of increasing his offer.

Sports Direct owns department store House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and Sofa.com, following a series of acquisitions.

But the Newcastle United owner lost in his £200m bid to take over Debenhams wiping out a shareholding worth around £150m.

Findel, who has opposed the takeover every step of the way claiming it seriously undervalued the business, issued a Stock Market statement this morning reiterating the firm’s stance.

It said: “The board of Findel notes the level of acceptances announced by Sports Direct International in response to its unsolicited mandatory offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Findel not already owned by Sports Direct at 161p per share in cash on the second closing date of 24 April 2019.

“Additional valid acceptances representing only 0.01% of Findel’s issued share capital have been received since the first closing date of 9 April 2019.

“When combined with Sports Direct’s existing holding of 36.84% of Findel’s issued share capital and the acceptances in respect of 0.98% of Findel’s issued share capital received as at the first closing date, this totals approximately 37.83% of Findel shares that are either owned or for which valid acceptances have now been received.

“This level is not sufficient to enable Sports Direct to declare its offer unconditional as to acceptances. Sports Direct has extended its offer to 1.00 pm. (London time) on 3 May 2019 at the same offer price of 161p per share.

“The Board reaffirms its previous statements that the Offer significantly undervalues Findel and its future prospects and strongly recommends that all shareholders take no action and reject the Offer.”

Sports Direct now has until May 4th to increase its offer.

Findel sells a range of fashion, homeware and gifts on its Studio.co.uk website.

It is also the second largest supplier of equipment and supplies to schools in the UK.

It reported revenues of £479m and £22m in profits for the year to 30 March 2018.

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