JJB Sports confirms financing talks, shares rise

British sportswear retailer JJB Sports, which nearly collapsed last year, said it was in talks with its bank and an unnamed "potential strategic partner" to raise financing.

Photo: JJB Sports

The company, which counts the U.S.'s richest man Bill Gates among its major shareholders, issued the statement on Tuesday in response to a sharp rise in its share price and rumors that bid talks were ongoing.

A source said the talks related to a potential investment.

"Constructive discussions continue with the company's lending bank and one of the potential strategic partners and have been widened to include other key stakeholders," JJB said in the statement.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, JJB's larger rival Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, said that it had held no talks with JJB, as a strategic partner or otherwise.

At 1427 GMT on Tuesday, JJB shares were trading up 44 percent at 15 pence. The company has seen its shares fall from 230 pence two years ago, as a difficult consumer environment in Britain and intense competition hit its trading.

A restructuring agreement with its landlords prevented it falling into administration a year ago. Recent trading updates have been more positive as JJB has worked to turn around the business ahead of a busy summer of sport.

JJB declined to comment further on the statement or on the identity of the strategic partner.

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