JD Sports Fashion is reportedly in discussions to sell its footwear chain, Footasylum, to private equity firm Aurelius Group. This potential deal would mark the end of JD’s attempts to integrate Footasylum into its business portfolio after acquiring it in 2019 for £90 million. However, the merger faced scrutiny from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which directed JD to sell Footasylum due to concerns about reduced competition in the market. As a result, JD Sports might be a “forced seller”, potentially impacting the deal’s price. The specific terms and timeline of the transaction are currently unknown, and both JD Sports and Aurelius have declined to comment.

Aside from the potential sale of Footasylum, JD Sports is also under investigation by the CMA for the sale of replica kits for Rangers FC. The CMA found that JD Sports violated regulations by fixing the retail prices of certain Rangers FC branded clothing items, which could result in another significant penalty for the company. These confrontations with the CMA are said to have played a role in the departure of JD’s chair, Peter Cowgill, in May. Andy Higginson, the former chairman of Morrisons, has taken over as the non-executive replacement. JD Sports is currently searching for a new chief executive.

It remains to be seen how the potential sale of Footasylum and the ongoing investigations by the CMA will impact JD Sports Fashion. The company has been navigating a challenging regulatory environment, resulting in fines and the need to divest a major acquisition. As the company moves forward under new leadership, industry analysts will closely monitor its ability to address these regulatory issues and maintain its market position.

Useful links:
Financial Times: JD Sports in Talks to Sell Footasylum to Aurelius Group
The Guardian: JD Sports Facing CMA Probe into Sale of Rangers FC Replica Kits