Ashley’s at it again…and Tesco does Windows? Really?……

July 7, 2011

Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct and owner of Newcastle Football Club have angered investors again with his latest acquisition.

As if he wasn’t already unpopular enough with the Newcastle supporters and shareholders in Sports Direct – Mr Ashley has recently agreed to pay £7m to acquire an 80pc holding in Cruise Clothing and USC.

Mr Ashley has been criticised before for his seemingly blind-sighted deals to buy brands without consulting shareholders. One in particular was his decision to buy a sizeable holding in Adidas, a move that enraged then chairman David Richardson to step down from his position and leave the company.

As well as this there was the acquisition of Lillywhites back in 2002, reports at the time detailed how an offer was tabled at lunchtime and completed the same day – as if he was bored on his lunch break and decided to purchase a company.

In 2004 Mr Ashley bought Dunlop Slazenger, again with no support from the group or its subsidiaries – so it comes as no surprise that he’s done it again.

The shareholders once again have a right to be annoyed, the company Mr Ashley has purchased from Sir Tom Hunter haven’t been without their own problems as of late.

In 2008 USC was put through a controversial pre-pack administration and Sir Tom bought Cruise in December last year after it too fell into administration.

Further to the £7m cash price Sports Direct has allocated a budget of £20m for investment in the chain.

Retaining a 20pc shareholding and remaining chairman of the chains, Sir Tom has got himself a good deal: “This deal will transform the prospects for both USC and Cruise and our employees at a time of extraordinary turbulence in the high street.

“I’ve known the Sports Direct team for many years and have huge respect for their talent and look forward to co-investing with them.” Sir Tom explained.

As for Sports Direct, they intend to use the deal to strategise a move into a more luxurious fashion market – something Mr Ashley isn’t familiar with, having previously made a name for himself by selling high volume, at low value.


In other news…

I’ve got the latest news on the ever-growing Tesco’s brand, having recently seen second-hand car sales and online gold exchange, now their most recent venture is into the world of double-glazing.

That’s right; Tesco’s will now be selling its own range of windows, doors and conservatories.

They plan to undercut their rivals and offering a blunt service, a message on reads: “With Tesco Windows & Doors there’s NO salesman, NO hard sell and NO price deception.”

So who knows what’s next for Tesco’s, well, no-one really!