Mike Ashley swoops for DW Sports assets in £37m deal

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Mike Ashley’s Fraser’s Group, which owns Shirebrook-based Sports Direct, has made a £37m swoop for Wigan-based DW Sports.

DW Sports had been placed in administration earlier this month, putting a total of around 1,700 jobs at risk.

Sales were understood to have been hit by the coronavirus lockdown which forced its stores and gyms to shut.

At the time of the closure DW chain operated 73 gyms and 75 retail sites across the UK.

Last month it announced plans to close 25 of its stores.

The retail business was wound down immediately.

However, it was the intention to protect as many jobs and gyms as possible through a restructuring process.

Frasers has snapped up assets relating to the firm’s gym and fitness business.

For the year ended 31 March 2019 (the last date to which accounts are available), DW had gross assets of almost £195m and made a loss of just over £20m.

A statement from Frasers said: “The transaction complements the existing gym and fitness club portfolio within the company’s group and is consistent with the group’s elevation strategy.

“Frasers Group looks forward to elevating the gym and fitness assets acquired pursuant to the transaction under the group’s existing iconic Everlast brand, and is also pleased to have saved a number of jobs.”

DW Sports Fitness was founded in March 2009 when former Wigan Athletic FC owner Dave Whelan purchased the 50 JJB Sports Fitness Clubs and the attached retail stores for £83.4m.

Last week it was announced that at least nine jobs had been saved at when a former DW Fitness Club in Bolton reopens under new ownership, with landlord The Emerson Group stepping in to save the venue.