JJB admits defeat and sells up

The next chapter in the tortured history of JJB Sports came yesterday when the beleaguered chain put itself up for sale. This follows several years of crisis that have seen about £200m pumped into the company, mostly from a small number of shareholders who retained faith in the business until very recently.

They include Invesco Perpetual, where star fund manager Neil Woodford built up a 34 per cent stake, the US company Harris Associates with 16 per cent, and the Bill and Melinda Gates charity foundation, which has five per cent. The value of those holdings is likely to be wiped out. The US sports retail giant Dick's Sporting Goods put in £20m just months ago, but has already written this off.

JJB has been buffeted by high street strife, fierce competition from its powerful rival Sports Direct, and almost perpetual management reshuffling. It said yesterday that with trading still deteriorating, further funds were going to be needed sooner rather than later.

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