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JD Sports agrees £38m sale of Footasylum after UK watchdog ruling

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JD Sports has agreed a £38m deal to sell Footasylum to the German asset management firm Aurelius Group, after it was finally forced to offload the trainer chain by the UK’s competition watchdog.The deal will be completed in the coming weeks, putting an end to a saga that started with JD Sports’ £90m purchase of its rival in 2019 as the FTSE 100 group sought to strengthen its position on the UK high street.The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had major concerns from the start that the takeover of Rochdale-headquartered Footasylum, which has 63 UK stores, would lessen competition.

However, JD Sports, which runs 3,400 stores across the UK, North America and other markets, made a notable challenge to the regulator’s authority by successfully arguing in 2020 that the CMA had acted “irrationally” by not considering the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the market.Yet the CMA came back, and in September 2021 it again found that competition on price, quality, range and service levels on footwear and clothing could still be reduced if the takeover went ahead.JD Sports reacted furiously at every stage of the process.

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