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Ashley Buys USC

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FT.com

 

Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, is teaming up with Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter in an attempt to move the sports retail chain upmarket.

 

Sports Direct is in the final stages of a deal to acquire an 80 per cent shareholding in two of Sir Tom’s fashion retail chains, USC and Cruise, for £7m.

 

Both stores specialise in designer leisure brands, selling expensive items including Ugg boots, the vintage-inspired Adidas Originals range and True Religion jeans, which retail for £300 a pair.

 

The deal signals a deeper strategy change for the retailer, which is keen to shed its discount image. Its wholly owned brands include Lonsdale and Golddigga, which are favoured by less affluent consumers.

 

USC and Cruise will not sell products through Sports Direct’s 470 UK stores or website, but will be run separately in a “premium and luxury lifestyle” division, according to people familiar with the deal. Sports Direct will invest about £20m to develop both businesses and open new stores.

 

Sir Tom will remain “a significant investor” and continue as chairman of both companies. He is also expected to provide strategic guidance to Sports Direct’s board. Sports Direct and Sir Tom’s West Coast Capital declined to comment.

 

Mr Ashley’s latest move comes at a time when UK sports retailers are agitating to win market share and sign exclusive deals with sports brands in the build-up to the 2012 Olympics. The Newcastle United football club owner grew his retail empire by acquiring sports brands, often from distressed sellers, and now looks set to be aiming to extend this strategy into the world of fashion.

 

USC has 38 stores in the UK, following a controversial pre-pack administration deal struck by West Coast Capital in December 2008, which led to the closure of 15 stores. It reported turnover of £70m for the year to January 30.

 

Separately, Sir Tom acquired Cruise in a £5m deal last December after the privately owned chain collapsed into administration. It trades from 10 stores, the majority in Scotland, and has an annual turnover approaching £20m.

 

The underbidder on the Cruise deal was Sports Direct’s main competitor, JD Sports, which is known for stocking more fashion-focused lines from leading sports names including Adidas and Nike. It also operates standalone fashion chains Scotts and Bank and acquired the eight-store Cecil Gee fashion chain for £1.7m last month.

 

JD’s executive chairman Peter Cowgill described the deal as a “low risk springboard for the development of a well funded, profitable premium brand fashion chain”.

 

Sports Direct is set to report sales of £1.59bn and adjusted pre-tax profit of £155m at its full-year results next Thursday. Its shares have risen 129 per cent in the past year, giving it a market capitalisation of £1.35bn.

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When i saw 'USC' in the thread title, before opening it up & reading, i instantly thought 'from Pac 10 powerhouse, to conference makeweights - he'll shit on another major sporting institution'. Just as a discussion point The LA Coliseum would act as a nice advertising hoarding, and for his tacky & forever growing sportwear line would open up a significant door to major consumer market ie. the West Coast market.

 

If it hasn't occured already, is it logistically possible for a tycoon to simply purchase, or buy into, a major college in the mould of Southern Cal, or a Notre Dame for example? These are collegiate institutions that have far & wide reaching scope, as advertising platforms. So what would be the cost of a stadium naming rights deal, or a prime chunk of advertising real-estate or exclusivity, akin to SJP. Given the importance of maintaining tradition i'd imagine there would be strong opposition at such move, from within the halls of power itself [from both a college itself, and the NCAA] and the college's state & city of relevance, at city & state goverment level.

Edited by Year Zero

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When i saw 'USC' in the thread title, before opening it up & reading, i instantly thought 'from Pac 10 powerhouse, to conference makeweights - he'll shit on another major sporting institution'. Just as a discussion point The LA Coliseum would act as a nice advertising hoarding, and for his tacky & forever growing sportwear line would open up a significant door to major consumer market ie. the West Coast market.

 

If it hasn't occured already, is it logistically possible for a tycoon to simply purchase, or buy into, a major college in the mould of Southern Cal, or a Notre Dame for example? These are collegiate institutions that have far & wide reaching scope, as advertising platforms. So what would be the cost of a stadium naming rights deal, or a prime chunk of advertising real-estate or exclusivity, akin to SJP. Given the importance of maintaining tradition i'd imagine there would be strong opposition at such move, from within the halls of power itself [from both a college itself, and the NCAA] and the college's state & city of relevance, at city & state goverment level.

Well ones thing for sure, he wouldn't be able to sell any players off, with the way those players are treated as slaves! I don't think so, because they're privately funded and everything, I don't think a billionaire would waltz in and demand SportsDirect@USC. Also, wiki says Southern Cal's endowment is 2.9 billion dollars :lol:, presume someone would have to pay that out, altogether a bad idea

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Sports Direct is in the final stages of a deal to acquire an 80 per cent shareholding in USC and Cruise, for £7m.

 

Sports Direct will invest about £20m to develop both businesses and open new stores.

 

£8m left

 

:lol:

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Guest alex

I remember when it used to be CF, i.e. Cruise Flannels and they had an absolutely outrageous D&G suit in the window. White with black D&G emblazoned all over it. Wonder if anyone bought it.

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Sports Direct is in the final stages of a deal to acquire an 80 per cent shareholding in USC and Cruise, for £7m.

 

Sports Direct will invest about £20m to develop both businesses and open new stores.

 

£8m left

 

:lol:

 

After wages and improvements, don;t you mean?

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Sports Direct is in the final stages of a deal to acquire an 80 per cent shareholding in USC and Cruise, for £7m.

 

Sports Direct will invest about £20m to develop both businesses and open new stores.

 

£8m left

 

:lol:

 

After wages and improvements, don;t you mean?

 

Tiote's new salary must be £30,769 a week. over 5 years that's exactly the missing £8m.

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I remember when it used to be CF, i.e. Cruise Flannels and they had an absolutely outrageous D&G suit in the window. White with black D&G emblazoned all over it. Wonder if anyone bought it.

 

In terms of 'shopping experience' one of the wankiest clothes shops going . The whole squeaky floor awkwardness, closely followed by the ubiquitous 'can i help you mate / anything in particular you're looking for' from some kid dressed as Luke Skywalker or an anorexic Ice Road Trucker . Fuck that shit .

 

Bring back Marcus Price .

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Guest alex
I remember when it used to be CF, i.e. Cruise Flannels and they had an absolutely outrageous D&G suit in the window. White with black D&G emblazoned all over it. Wonder if anyone bought it.

 

In terms of 'shopping experience' one of the wankiest clothes shops going . The whole squeaky floor awkwardness, closely followed by the ubiquitous 'can i help you mate / anything in particular you're looking for' from some kid dressed as Luke Skywalker or an anorexic Ice Road Trucker . Fuck that shit .

 

Bring back Marcus Price .

Aye. Spot on. :D

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Does my head in. When I go to buy some clothes, does my nut in when no sooner Ive stepped in the shop I have some twat shadowing me. Fuck off! Im a firm believer in asking for help if I want it. How the fuck can you help me? I'm not some tart who wants advice on what to wear.

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