JD Sports is ready to buy the French fashion retailer, Groupe Courir – WWD


London – British sneaker and apparel giant JD Sports Fashion confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to buy French company Group Courier as part of a global acquisition.

The FTSE 100 company, which is majority-owned by Pentland Group, earlier this week entered into exclusive deals with Group Courier, a footwear and sportswear retailer.

Groupe Courier is owned by Equistone Partners Europe following the 2018 spin-off of the footwear and apparel retailer from France’s Groupe Go Sport.

According to JD, the deal has an enterprise value of €520 million.

According to French law, JD initiates consultation procedures with employee representative bodies before entering into a binding sales and purchase agreement with the courier management.

Completion of the acquisition is conditional on receiving merger control approval from the European Union and is not expected before the second half of the year.

After deducting the net debt of 195 million euros, the amount to be paid upon completion, with some adjustments, will be 325 million euros.

JD said it plans to finance the acquisition through available cash sources. Net debt of €195 million mainly consists of financing lines of approximately €210 million, which will be refinanced upon completion.

Courier has 313 stores in six countries in Europe, with the majority in France, followed by Spain, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

It has a further 36 stores in North West Africa, the Middle East and French overseas territories, trading as Courier through franchise agreements. Two stores in Denmark trade under the name Naked and carry “high-end” women’s shoes, according to JD.

Explaining the reason for the sale, JD said it wanted to focus on “complementary” concepts to leverage its existing premium store network.

“As Courier operates stores with a primary focus on the female consumer, this proposed acquisition is in line with that growth strategy. Courier’s extensive expertise in managing women-oriented stores will greatly expand the capabilities and global opportunities within the group,” JD said.

He added that Courier’s senior management team and operational infrastructure would be retained and that the aim was for Courier to “maintain its identity and remain independent of JD’s French operations”.

For the year ended December 31, Courier consolidated revenues of 609.8 million euros, from a combination of 100.3 million euros in product sales to partners and other commission income from franchisees.

Profit before interest and tax was 47.4 million euros and total assets were 678.4 million euros.

The proposed acquisition is part of JD’s ongoing strategy to sustain its growth and strengthen its presence in international markets.

In 2021, JD bought two American high street and sneaker retailers in a span of six weeks.

It bought 100 percent of DTLR Villas, a Baltimore-based athletic footwear and apparel streetwear retailer, for $495 million. Earlier that year, it snapped up San Jose, Calif.-based Shoe Palace, which sells brands including Nike, Champion and Fila.

Shares in JD Sports were trading up 2.2 percent at £1.66 on the London Stock Exchange.


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