Private equity firms eyeing up Blacks Leisure

Blacks Leisure, a UK retailer of outdoor wear, has had two takeover offers from private equity firms, according to reports, and has appointed advisory firm McQueen for the bidding process. The Daily Telegraph reported that Lion Capital was one of the firms that bid for Blacks. Neither company has confirmed the reports, however.

(Reuters) – British outdoor goods retailer Blacks Leisure has received several approaches that could lead to a bid for all or parts of the business, it said on Tuesday.

The company, confirming a story in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, said it had appointed advisory firm McQueen to help it with the process and that there was no certainty any bids will be made.

The Daily Telegraph said Blacks had received at least two approaches from private equity firms, and that one of them could be from Lion Capital.

Blacks was not immediately available for comment, while Lion Capital could not immediately be reached.

Blacks, which runs the Blacks Outdoor and Milletts chains, came close to administration last year before striking a rescue deal with creditors that saw it close over 100 stores.

It raised 20 million pounds ($32 million) in May to accelerate turnaround plans after reporting a pretax loss of 47 million pounds for the year to Feb. 27. Plans include refurbishing stores and opening 35 new ones on more favourable terms.

The fundraising was opposed by shareholder Sports Direct International, which considered a bid for Blacks before walking away.

Blacks shares closed at 34 pence on Monday, valuing the firm at about 29 million pounds.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Mark Potter; Editing by Gary Hill and Hans Peters)