Troubled JJB Sports To Appoint Administrator
Struggling retailer JJB Sports has confirmed it will appoint administrators after calling time on its long-running battle to rescue the business.
The move, which was revealed by Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman, is likely to be accompanied by the sale of certain parts of the business under a pre-pack administration.
JJB said it expected that KPMG would be appointed as administrators.
It has been in talks with prospective buyers, including Mike Ashley's Sports Direct and Stafford Group, a privately-owned Irish conglomerate, for several weeks - a process that has been led by KPMG, Kleinman said.
As many as half of its 180 stores are expected to close in the sale process, threatening the 4,000 jobs at the firm.
The company requested the suspension of its shares at the beginning of the trading day, and said it was clear that any offer for the company would not realise any value for shareholders.
JJB said it would continue to trade through all its retail outlets pending completion of the sale and administration process.
The retailer said: "The board has determined that any sale of the trade, assets and brands will be effected through an administration process.
"Therefore, it is expected that the process to commence the appointment of administrators of the company and certain of its subsidiaries will begin today although the actual appointments are only likely to take effect just before the completion of any such sale."
The group has been hit hard by the squeeze on consumer spending triggered by the financial crisis and by the stellar performance of rivals Sports Direct and JD Sports.
By late 2008, it was in a battle for survival and, despite shareholders with deep pockets, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, numerous fundraisings and closing half of its stores, it has been unable to revive it fortunes.
Last month, it put itself up for sale and warned that shareholders were likely to be left empty-handed in any deal.
Former Blackburn Rovers footballer and Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan bought a single store in Wigan in 1971 before an aggressive expansion drive made JJB the UK's biggest sports retailer with more than 400 stores.
In 1994, the company was floated on the Stock Exchange.