The Finish Line, Inc. announced that it has entered into a merger agreement providing for JD Sports Fashion Plc (JD.L) to acquire 100 percent of the issued and outstanding Finish Line shares at a price of $13.50 per share in cash, representing an aggregate deal value of approximately $558 million.
JD is the leading European retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands.
“The Special Committee appointed by the Finish Line board recommended and the board voted unanimously to approve entering into this merger agreement,” said Bill Carmichael, chairman of the special committee and lead director of the Finish Line Board of Directors. “With JD, Finish Line achieves immediate value for its shareholders and moves into a stronger position to compete as part of a global enterprise that leads in our industry.”
“Finish Line has long admired JD and their commitment to serve customers with premium brands through a unique and innovative retail experience,” said Sam Sato, chief executive officer of Finish Line. “We are thrilled to partner with them and look forward to realizing the impact we will have on the marketplace together.”
“We are extremely excited to be joining up with Finish Line, a well-established US operator,” said Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD. “The acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for JD to establish its market leading multi-brand proposition in the world’s largest athleisure market. It immediately offers a major presence in the US, a clear next step to further increase our global scale. Finish Line has many similarities to JD with a strong brick and mortar offering complemented by an advanced and well-invested digital platform. We are looking forward to working with Finish Line’s experienced management team to bring best-in-class retail theatre to the US. Our combined extensive knowledge of the retail market and our product and marketing relationships with global brand partners will benefit our customers, in turn supporting the continued future growth of JD.”
Established in 1981 with a single store in the North West of England, JD Sports has over 1200 stores in the UK and Europe across a number of banners. They include JD, Size?, Footpatrol, Chausport, Perry Sport and Aktiesport in its sports fashion segment. Its Outdoor banners include Black, Millets, Ultimate Outdoors, Go Outdoors and Tiso. JD Sports has expanded overseas in recent years, gaining a presence in France, Spain and South Korea. Sales were £2.39 billion ($3.39 bn) in 2017.
- The terms of the merger represent a premium of 28 percent for Finish Line shareholders compared to the closing price of Finish Line’s shares of $10.55 as of March 23, 2018.
- This provides an excellent strategic fit for Finish Line and JD. Finish Line moves into a stronger position to compete as part of a global enterprise that leads in the industry. JD gains a significant physical and online retail presence with direct access in the U.S., which they have long identified as a highly attractive growth opportunity.
- Finish Line and JD together create a leading global, premium, multichannel retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands who embraces the latest online and in-store digital technology.
- The combined purchasing power of Finish Line and JD, coupled with the strategic alignment with major international sportswear brands in North America, is expected, on completion, to enable the enlarged group to bring a highly differentiated multi-channel retail proposition to the U.S.ß market.
- Upon closing of the agreement, the Finish Line executive team will continue their involvement with the business.
- The merger agreement is subject to Finish Line and JD shareholder approval of the merger, the receipt of all required regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary conditions to closing. The expected timeline to close on this agreement is no earlier than June 2018.
Barnes & Thornburg LLP served as legal counsel to Finish Line. PJ SOLOMON served as lead financial advisor, Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. served as financial advisor and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP served as legal counsel to Finish Line’s Special Committee of the Board of Directors in connection with this transaction.
Barclays served as lead financial advisor to JD and Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLC, Addleshaw Goddard LLC and Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP served as legal counsel to JD. Barclays, HSBC Bank and PNC Bank, National Association provided committed financing to JD for the transaction.
Photo courtesy The Finish Line