JD Sports in talks to buy Courir of France for €520m

JD Sports CEO Régis Schultz

By Mark McSherry

Bury-based FTSE 100 retailer JD Sports Fashion plc announced it is in exclusive talks to buy French chain Courir for an enterprise value of €520 million as it further expands in continental Europe.

JD Sports currently trades from over 3,400 stores across 32 territories including the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, the United States and Australia.

Courir, which has 313 stores across six countries in Europe including France, Spain and Belgium, is currently majority owned by Equistone Partners Europe.

“On 8 May 2023, the group entered into exclusive negotiations with the owners of Groupe Courir S.A.S (Courir) with regards to the potential future acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Courir for an enterprise value of €520 million,” said JD Sports.

“The business is currently majority owned by Equistone Partners Europe which acquired Courir in 2018 following the carve out from Groupe Go Sport.

“In accordance with French law, Courir management will now commence consultation processes with its relevant employee representative bodies prior to being able to enter into a binding sale and purchase agreement for the transaction.

“The transaction will need to be notified to the European Commission in accordance with European Union Law.

“Completion of the acquisition is therefore conditional on receipt of merger control approval.

“Given the potential timings associated with the consultation and competition assessment processes, completion of the transaction would not be expected before the second half of 2023.

“After deducting net debt of €195 million, the amount payable at completion, subject to certain adjustments, would be €325 million which would be funded through available cash resources.

“The net debt of €195 million in Courir principally constitutes existing funding lines of approximately €210 million which would be refinanced at completion.

“Based in France, Courir is a leading player in the European sports footwear and apparel sector with 313 stores bannered as Courir across six countries in Europe …”

JD Sports CEO Régis Schultz said: “We said at our recent Capital Markets Event that this was the start of a new, distinct chapter in the growth story of JD.

“The exciting developments that we are announcing today reflect the strategic priorities that we highlighted on the day.

“We are delighted to announce the proposed acquisition of Courir, a business that is held in high regard in the European sportswear community.

“We look forward to concluding the contemplated transaction, welcoming the Courir team to the group and then working with management to fulfil Courir’s global potential.

“Investing in quality complementary concepts whilst furthering the growth of JD itself is a key strategic pillar for the group and one which we will continue to pursue in the future.

“Securing greater control over the long-term development of JD and prioritising the development of the JD brand is a key pillar in our growth strategy in Europe.

“It will give us simpler decision making which will allow us to use our assets with more efficiency.

“At the same time, it will considerably simplify the group operations. We thank our partners for their contribution to the development of JD across Europe and for their constructive engagement.”