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Sports Direct Rises to Four-Year High on USC, Cruise Stakes

Sports Direct International Plc, the retailer controlled by Newcastle United Football Club owner Mike Ashley, rose to the highest in more than four years in London trading after buying an 80 percent stake in USC and Cruise Clothing from billionaire entrepreneur Tom Hunter.

The shares jumped 8.4 pence, or 3.5 percent to 250.9 pence, the highest since April 2007, extending its gain this year to 57 percent and lifting the company’s market value to 1.45 billion pounds ($2.32 billion).

Sports Direct paid 7 million pounds for the stakes in the two fashion retailers, it said in a statement today. Hunter will keep a 20 percent stake, the statement said.

Hunter’s closely held West Coast Capital bought USC from Bridgepoint Capital for 45 million pounds in 2004, according to the Scotsman newspaper. Hunter, who sold his Sports Division business for 290 million pounds in 1998, bought Cruise out of administration on Dec. 30.

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