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JD Sports Sells Footasylum to Aurelius for About $46 Million

JD Sports Fashion Plc on Monday announced that it has entered into a deal to sell its Footasylum brand to German asset management firm Aurelius for £37.5 million, or $46 million at current exchange. 

The British sportswear retailer acquired the shoe chain in 2019 in a $119 million deal that quickly drew the attention of the competition watchdog in the UK. In 2020, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the deal “substantially lessens competition nationally,” and that it would force JD Sports to sell the business if it could not prove otherwise.

In 2021, the CMA ordered JD Sports to sell Footasylum after a second investigation found consumers would suffer from the stifling of competition that resulted from the deal.

The sale to Aurelius is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Aurelius said in a release that it would “work with Footasylum’s management team to enhance digitalization, while also continuing to build on its prominent high street presence.” The asset management firm added that it will leverage Footasylum’s brand recognition to improve profitability and develop brand offerings.

Founded in 2005, Footasylum operates 63 stores in the UK that sell footwear, apparel and accessories from major brands such as Nike, Adidas, The North Face and New Balance.

“As a standalone business, Footasylum has the potential to become an innovative retailer of sportswear and we are eager to unlock the company’s full potential,” said Aurelius founding partner Dr. Dirk Markus. “We believe that Aurelius is ideally placed to support Footasylum’s transformation, which will be backed by our extensive operational expertise within the retail, digital and wholesale channels.”

JD Sports Fashion Plc in July announced Andy Higginson as its new chair, after former JD executive chairman Peter Cowgilll left his role in May. The company is still scouting out a candidate to be its new CEO, a role that non-executive director and senior independent director Kath Smith has assumed in the interim.

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