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Blacks Leisure at 22-Year Low as It Foresees No Offer for Shares

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Blacks Leisure Group Plc, a U.K. retailer of outdoor clothing and equipment, fell to a 22-year low after the company said it expects no offer for its shares.

Blacks expects talks with several companies next month, when the sale process will end, it said in a Regulatory News Service statement today. The stock fell as much as 64 percent to 0.63 pence in London trading, the lowest since 1989. It was down 57 percent, at 0.75 pence, at 12:50 p.m. London time.

“There is no equity value,” Freddie George, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, said by phone. “It’s going to go to the highest bidder.”

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd., a clothing retailer known for acquiring retail chains, may be the frontrunner in bidding to acquire parts of Blacks, the Scotsman reported today, without saying where it got the information. Sports Direct International Plc, Mountain Warehouse Ltd. and Go Outdoors Ltd. are also bidding for parts of the Northampton, England-based chain, which runs 98 Blacks stores and 208 Millets outlets.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill acquired fashion chain Jane Norman Holdings Ltd. in June and previously bought furnishing chains Ponden Mill and Rosebys.

“I suspect Edinburgh Woollen Mill are looking to do the same thing as they did with Jane Norman, buy the company for the stock and they’ve got the brand on top for free,” George said. “But this time there are a lot of interested parties. It’s really anybody’s guess.”

Edinburgh Woollen Mill didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment. Nicola Swift, a Blacks spokeswoman, declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katie Linsell in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at

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