VF Corporation, the parent of The North Face and Vans, acquired a 5% stake in U.K. outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure in a move that seems to be designed to block any future bid by Sports Direct.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, VF has acquired warrants from the banks involved in the recent refinancing of Blacks Leisure that will, when exercised, give it a 5% stake in the retailer.

A spokesman for VF Corp told The Daily Telegraph: “This investment was
made in support of Blacks continuing restructuring efforts and strong
internal management. VF has no plans to further increase its ownership
position in Blacks Leisure and looks forward to continuing as one of
Blacks many suppliers.”

Sports Direct is the largest shareholder in Blacks Leisure with a 28.5% stake, and pulled its offer to acquire Blacks Leisure in early April after some resistance from Blacks Leisure management. Blacks Leisure suppliers had also reportedly threatened to boycott the outdoor retailer if Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley, took control of the chain.