Sports Direct (LON: SPD) has reviewed the CMA’s decision, published on 24th October 2019, to refer the completed acquisition by JD Sports Fashion plc of Footasylum plc to a Phase II investigation.
The CMA had found that the acquisition was likely to result in “a worse deal for customers, both in-store and online, through higher prices, worse choice in stores or reductions in service quality” as, inter alia, “the merging businesses are 2 of a smaller number of firms who have the brand relationships and market presence to be able to credibly meet the demands of sports fashion customers”.
Sports Direct notes that in the Decision the CMA has acknowledged that Sports Direct has a “differentiated product offering” from JD Sports and Footasylum (the “Parties”) and has experienced a “lack of access to SMUs/exclusive and/or high-end/premium products”.
However, despite these findings, Sports Direct further notes that the CMA has nevertheless published inaccurate estimates of Sports Direct’s share of the supply of “sports-inspired casual apparel and also footwear”, both on an in-store and online basis, which wrongly suggest that Sports Direct would have a comparable share of supply to the merged Parties.
Sports Direct disagrees with these estimates as they substantially overstate its presence on each of the markets which are the subject of the CMA’s investigation. Sports Direct does not have a meaningful, if any, presence in these markets for the reasons articulated by the CMA in the Decision.
Sports Direct welcomes the opportunity for these percentages to be corrected during the course of the CMA’s Phase II investigation.
Mike Ashley CEO of Sport Direct has commented:
“I have been watching this from the side lines to date and now having had the opportunity of considering the CMA decision, I would now welcome the opportunity to provide the CMA with the correct market data. For example, our market share of Adidas Originals in Sports Direct is virtually zero.”