Go Outdoors’ parent JD Sports buys bicycle retailer Wheelbase

Records at Companies House show that retail group JD Sports has taken over bicycle retail giant Wheelbase, which has both a physical retail presence and a large mail order business.

Filed on October 1st, the majority stake buyout sees the firm’s trio of stores join a large portfolio of outdoor and leisure brands that include Millets, Blacks, Go Outdoors, Ultimate Outdoors, Size?, Foot Patrol, Sport Zone and JD Gyms, among others. Wheelbase has physical retail branches in Staveley, Darlington and Ilkley.

As part of the acquisition, Wheelbase’s full management team and brand will be retained. The bicycle retailer has around 45 employees.

The 4.8 star rated Trust Pilot bicycle business has a significant public presence in the cycling world for a bicycle retailer, lending its support to the British Elite road racing team Wheelbase Altura MGD, as well as supporting a junior team under the Wheelbase CabTech Juniors banner. It also hosts a MTB demo weekend with ten years under its belt and an attendance nearing 250 riders annually.

The buyout represents a further step into the cycling industry on the back of a steady expansion of Go Outdoors’ presence in the cycling market. The outdoor retail giant was re-acquired by JD Sports in June of 2020 for a fee of £56.5 million after the former retail chain brought in administrators. The re-addition to the firm’s portfolio followed an earlier 2016 buyout and subsequent sale.

Toby Dalton, Commercial Director of Wheelbase Lakeland Limited, said: “The JD Group will bring world-class operational support to Wheelbase. We look forward to a new era of development and can’t wait to get the wheels in motion.”

Lee Bagnall, CEO of the Outdoor division within the JD Group, addd “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Wheelbase. We have been impressed by the capabilities of the management team and we look forward to working with them to enhance the cycling offer within the JD Group.”

Last month, in a further expansion of the brand portfolio, the Competition and Markets Authority objected to a transaction relating to JD Sports’ buyout of the Foot Asylum label.

Law firm for businesses Muckle LLP advised Wheelbase on all corporate aspects of the deal, and negotiations were led by award-winning corporate lawyers and Partners Philip Clare and Matthew Walsh.

The JD Group were advised by Napthens LLP with the team led by Corporate Partner Rob Dobson.

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