Dec 13, 2021
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JD Sports surrenders in battle for Footasylum

Dec 13, 2021

JD Sports Fashion is preparing to wave a white flag in its long fight to incorporate smaller footwear peer Footasylum into its business portfolio.

JD Sports Fashion

The ambitious UK-based sportswear/lifestyle retailer is poised to concede defeat in its protracted battle with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has opposed the deal to buy the firm for £90 million in March 2019.

Last month, the antitrust regulator ordered JD Sports to sell 65-store Footasylum after a detailed probe claimed that the takeover could lead to "a substantial reduction in competition”.

The deadline for JD to appeal the decision to the Competition Appeal Tribunal lapsed earlier this month. The retailer is understood to have been considering whether to request an extension, although the chances of it doing so have diminished, reported the The Times. 

JD Sports has so far failed to comment.

However, the retailer had previously said the CMA verdict “defies logic”, citing the pressure created by powerful brands Nike and Adidas, “who are increasingly selling their most desirable products directly to consumers”.

Separately, the report also said the CMA is investigating whether JD executive chairman Peter Cowgill breached competition rules after video footage obtained by The Sunday Times showed him meeting with Footasylum boss Barry Bown.

CMA rules prohibit the sharing of confidential information between the two companies. JD denied wrongdoing and said the meeting was arranged to discuss Bown’s future involvement in the business, a personal issue, and for Bown to reassure Cowgill that Footasylum was working hard to ensure the merger was cleared.

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