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UK watchdog says findings support move to block JD Sports takeover of Footasylum

People pass a JD Sports store in London, Britain April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

Sept 2 (Reuters) – Britain’s competition watchdog said on Thursday it remains of the view that blocking sportswear retailer JD Sports’s (JD.L) takeover of smaller rival Footasylum may be the only way to address its competition concerns after reassessing the merger.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had ordered JD Sports to sell Footasylum in May last year, but the company later appealed it to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which found that the CMA did not go far enough to consider the impact of the COVID-19. This had led the CMA to reassess the merger.

“While Nike is already a strong competitor to JD Sports, and the CMA expects both Nike and Adidas to grow their retail business, these developments are still not enough to replace the very significant degree of competition between JD Sports and Footasylum,” the CMA said.

JD Sports Chairman Peter Cowgill said the company has made “compelling submissions on the committed positioning of the global brands towards Direct to Consumer and the consequent impact on an extremely competitive marketplace,”

“I am perplexed and again disappointed that these have been rejected… I urge the CMA to reconsider its position before making its final determination,” he added.

The CMA said it has considered more evidence during its inquiry and has come to the provisional view that the deal would result in higher prices for shoppers, less choice and a worse shopping experience overall.

($1 = 0.7256 pounds)

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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