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JD Sports proposes acquisition of France’s Courir, simplifies European shareholdings

By Rachel Douglass


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JD Sports Fashion has announced its intention to take acquisitive steps towards French sportswear company Courir as it looks to fulfil growth ambitions it had previously outlined in February.

The group said that it had entered into “exclusive negotiations” with the owner of Groupe Courir with regards to a potential future acquisition of 100 percent of its issued share capital for a value of 250 million euros.

Courir is currently majority owned by Equistone Partners Europe, who acquired the brand in 2018 from Groupe Go Sport. The firm’s management will now proceed with a consultation process in regards to entering into a binding sale.

JD said that after deducting a net debt of 195 million euros, the amount payable at completion would be 325 million euros, which it would fund through available cash resources.

The transaction itself is still subject to merger control approval and assessment processes, with the group noting that it is not expected to be complete before the second half of 2023.

The acquisition of Courir, which operates 313 stores across six European countries, as well as a further 36 in North West Africa, the Middle East and French overseas territories, would play into JD’s ‘Complementary Concepts’ strategy unveiled during its most recent Capital Markets Event.

Through the plan, the group said it was looking to enhance its position as a leading global sportswear specialist, turning its attention towards its sports-specific portfolio, a move that ultimately saw it offload 14 of its fashion-centric brands to Frasers Group earlier this year.

With Courir, JD noted that the brand identity, senior management team and operational infrastructure of the retailer would remain in place, but that it would run from JD’s French operations.

JD simplifies European minority shareholdings

Next to this announcement and also coming as part of its newly revealed strategy, the group also said it would be simplifying the minority shareholdings of its European business subsidiaries as it looks to secure greater control over its long-term development.

With this in mind, JD said it has now completed the acquisition of the remaining 20 percent of JD Sports Fashion Germany and has begun discussions with Balaiko Firaja Invest and Sonae Holdings, who collectively hold 49.98 percent of Iberian Sports Retail Group (ISRG), on its future ownership structure.

JD said there were three possible outcomes of such discussions, including its own full acquisition held by the minority parties, the duo’s acquisition of the group’s 50.2 percent hold in ISRG or no change to the current ownership structure.

In a release, Régis Schultz, CEO of JD, said: "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."

JD Sports
Mergers and acquisitions