Sky News has reported that JD Sports and Sports Direct both made offers for Evans Cycles last week. Meaning that alongside Halfords there is possibly a 3-Horse race developing, at least in terms of established High St giants. A number of other financial investors are said to also have tabled offers.
The channel reports that JD Sports, which also owns Go Outdoors is “understood to have a genuine interest in buying Evans”. Go Outdoors has previously tried to move it’s bike offering more upmarket, with mixed results. Access to higher quality brands and an experienced cycle buying team may be part of the appeal.
Meanwhile Halfords, which also owns the Cycle Republic, Tredz and Wheelies names, would have a range of re-branding and store optimisation options open. Of the three chains, Sports Direct may have fewer synergies with Evans core consumer base. Sky reports it is not clear whether the chain is “committed to progressing further in the auction process.”
Evans is said to need more than £10m in new capital to see it survive the next few months. Private equity firm ECI Partners, Evans current owners, are said to be seeking a buyer capable of meeting its ongoing funding requirements. With several interested parties, a takeover of the UK’s largest cycle specialist appears likely.
The news of additional bidders is likely to be welcomed by the cycle trade, which is concerned at the prospect of losing Evans as a significant route to market.