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Pentland consolidates US via JD Sports deal with Finish Line

British family owned Pentland Group has added a US footwear chain to its sporting retail portfolio in a reported $558 million (£396 million) acquisition via subsidiary JD Sports.

British family owned Pentland Group has added a US footwear chain to its sporting retail portfolio in a reported $558 million (£396 million) acquisition via subsidiary JD Sports.

Third-generation Pentland is the majority owner of JD Sports Fashion Ltd, which operates more than 1,300 sports, fashion and outdoor stores across 12 countries. JD Sports announced this week it had formally completed its acquisition of The Finish Line, Inc. A day later, Sports Direct, the UK’s largest sporting goods retailer by revenue and rival of JD Sports, announced it had divested its entire 19% share of The Finish Line.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Finish Line employs more than 14,000 staff and sells shoes, clothes and accessories in 950 branded outlets in US malls and shops inside Macy’s department stores. It retails through its website and maintains a social media presence involving 698,000 Twitter followers and 696,000 Instagram followers.

Pentland declined to comment, but Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said in a statement the acquisition of Finish Line marked “a momentous step in JD's global expansion and represents an exciting opportunity to bring our market leading, multi-brand retail proposition to the world's largest athleisure market, both online and in stores.

“Our team will now collaborate with the experienced Finish Line management team and the key global brands to bring best in class retail theatre and multi-channel consumer experience to the US."

Sam Sato, chief executive of The Finish Line, said the retailer opened “an exciting new chapter” with the deal.

“With a global footprint, together we will bring leading-edge innovation and service to our customers. Our shared vision and drive to provide a premium retail experience will further our impact as a leading, premium multi-channel retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands.”

In addition to JD Sports, the $3 billion Pentland group owns Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Mitre, Ellesse, Boxfresh, SeaVees, KangaROOS and Red or Dead. It is the global licensee for Ted Baker footwear and Kickers in the UK and has a joint venture partnership for Lacoste footwear. It is also shareholders in other companies such as Hunter Boot, Butterfly Twists, Heidi Klein and Tracksmith.

Owned by London-based Stephen Rubin and family, including son and chairman Andy Rubin (pictured), Pentland won the Top Family Business Award at the CampdenFB European Families in Business Awards in 2014.


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