JJB plans to raise £65m more

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THE latest phase in JJB Sports’ battle for survival will see it bid to raise an extra £65m from investors this week.

The fund-raising is part of an on-going recovery strategy aimed at saving the Martland Mill-based retailer from administration. It was expected to set out further details of the plan today.

Before the weekend Bury-based JD Sports abandoned take-over talks with JJB, citing a lack of information from its rival.

Last month JJB raised £31.5m from its biggest shareholders, including a trust operating on behalf of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife. A further £100m was raised a little more than a year ago.

And JJB said in a statement yesterday that it was in “constructive discussions with its major shareholders in relation to their continued support.”

It said that the proposed equity capital raising would be around £65m. There would be further details of JJB’s “revised business plan, anticipated funding requirements and proposed financing arrangements on or around March 15,” the statement said.

Group chairmn Mike McTighe is expected to set out the first part of a five-year recovery plan which will include incentivising directors by giving them shares in the company.

Last Friday, JD Sports abandoned takeover talks, claiming JJB had not provided information that would have enabled it to progress with a formal offer. JJB has said that JD’s takeover proposal was “highly conditional and lacking sufficient certainty to be deliverable”.

JJB, currently operates nearly 250 stores and employs 6,100 staff, but it has seen sales tumble.

It has already unveiled plans to close 43 under-performing outlets, including those in Leigh, and St Helens and another 46 are at risk of closure.

They, including Wigan’s flagship Grand Arcade store, at least have a chance to turn their fortunes round as each undergoes an assessment in the next two years.

The firm is also currently trying to renegotiate rents with store landlords.