UK sportswear group Frasers expands German presence with SportScheck deal

LONDON (Reuters) – British sports and fashion group Frasers is expanding its presence in Germany, the home of sportswear giant Adidas, through the purchase of the SportScheck chain, it said on Tuesday.

Frasers, formerly called Sports Direct and controlled by founder Mike Ashley, is pursuing a so-called “elevation strategy” with acquisitions, the deepening of ties with major brands and investments in flagship stores and online.

It has agreed with Signa Retail Department Store Holding to buy SportScheck, which trades from 34 stores in prime city locations and has annual revenue of about 350 million euros ($369 million).

Financial details of the deal, which Frasers expects to complete in the first quarter of next year, were not disclosed.

Frasers CEO Michael Murray said buying SportScheck represented a big step in its target of becoming the number one sports retailer in Europe.

“We are delighted to do this with the full support of major global brand partners, Adidas and Nike,” he said, adding the German market was a “huge opportunity” for Frasers.

Bjørn Gulden, the CEO of Adidas, said the firm was “committed and excited to support Sports Direct on their journey.”

Shares in Frasers, 73% of which are owned by Ashley, have increased 13% so far this year, giving the group a market capitalisation of 3.6 billion pounds ($4.4 billion).

($1 = 0.8221 pounds)

($1 = 0.9486 euros)

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)