UP-for-sale JJB Sports has attracted 10 prospective buyers, it has been reported.
The stricken Wigan-based company put itself on the market at the end of last month following a disastrous summer, triggering other companies’ interest.
Among those believed to have made an official bid for the whole enterprise is Sports Direct, owned by Newcastle United chief Mike Ashley.
Dave Whelan himself has also been linked with a move for his old firm, although it is thought that the Latics chairman is only interested in picking off certain stores to build up his new DW Sports Fitness empire.
Names such as private investment firm DeCapita and French sport retailer Decathlon were two others rumoured to be making inquiries, although it is believed that neither firm has made an offer.
The list of those thought to be lining up a takeover pitch includes the likes of rivals JD Sports and retail restructuring giant GA Europe as well as Sports Direct.
JJB, which is based at Martland Park, currently employs 4,000 people nationwide, with an number of those working at their Wigan headquarters as well as their Robin Park branch.
JJB put itself up for sale after publishing a statement detailing its financial woes, with debts and outstanding loans totalling £34m, with no guarantee of investors or that shareholders would see any return.
The firm’s board are now considering the bids which they have, a process expected to last a few bids.
And it could still face administration sooner if the board considers the offers unacceptable, or if the winning bid includes a pre-pack administration which could see scores of outlets closed.