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JD Sports
The exterior of a JD Sports store.
Courtesy of JD Sports

LONDON – British sneaker and clothing giant JD Sports Fashion confirmed Tuesday that it plans to acquire the French company Groupe Courir as part of an international acquisitions drive.

The FTSE 100 company, which is majority owned by Pentland Group, had entered into exclusive negotiations with Groupe Courir, a footwear and sports apparel retailer, earlier this week.

Groupe Courir is currently majority owned by Equistone Partners Europe, which had acquired the footwear and apparel retailer in 2018 following its carve-out from France’s Groupe Go Sport.

According to JD, the deal has an enterprise value of 520 million euros.

JD said that, in accordance with French law, Courir management will commence consultation processes with employee representative bodies prior to entering into a binding sale and purchase agreement.

Completion of the acquisition is conditional on receipt of merger control approval from European Union Law, and is not expected before the second half of the year.

After deducting net debt of 195 million euros, the amount payable at completion, subject to certain adjustments, would be 325 million euros.

JD said it planned to fund the acquisition through available cash resources. The net debt of 195 million euros principally constitutes existing funding lines of approximately 210 million euros, which would be refinanced at completion.

Courir has 313 stores across six countries in Europe, the majority of which are in France, followed by Spain, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

It has a further 36 stores which trade under franchise agreements as Courir in North West Africa, the Middle East and French overseas territories. Two stores trade in Denmark under the name Naked and specialize in “elevated” female footwear, according to JD.

Explaining the rationale for the sale, JD said it wants to focus on “complementary” concepts as a way of leveraging its existing premium store network.

“This proposed acquisition is in line with that growth strategy, as Courir operates stores with a primary focus on a female consumer. Leveraging Courir’s extensive knowledge in managing female-oriented stores would significantly broaden the capabilities and global opportunities across the Group,” JD said.

It added that the senior management team and operational infrastructure of Courir would be retained, and it is the intention that Courir “would maintain its identity and would run autonomously from JD’s French operations.”

For the year ended Dec. 31, Courir had consolidated revenues of 609.8 million euros, which included 100.3 million euros from the combination of the sale of product on a commission basis to the affiliates and other commission income from franchisees.

Profit before interest and tax was 47.4 million euros and gross assets were 678.4 million euros.

The proposed acquisition is part of JD’s ongoing strategy to drive growth and consolidate its presence in international markets.

In 2021, JD purchased two U.S. street and sneaker retailers in the space of six weeks.

It bought 100 percent of DTLR Villa, an athletic footwear and apparel streetwear retailer based in Baltimore, for $495 million. Earlier that year it snapped up the San Jose, Calif.-based Shoe Palace, which sells brands including Nike, Champion and Fila.

Shares in JD Sports were trading up 2.2 percent at 1.66 pounds on the London Stock Exchange following the announcement.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.
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JD Sports Fashion Poised to Purchase French Retailer, Groupe Courir
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