Sports Direct plunges $101 million into Eastern Mountain Sports to gain U.S. foothold

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UK retail giant Sports Direct has bought Eastern Mountain Sports for $101 million, giving owner Mike Ashley a foothold in the U.S. market.

Already operating 700 stores around the globe, Ashley has been widely rumoured to have further interests in the cycling market of late and this purchase will add around 50 bricks and mortar stores, as well as a U.S. e-commerce platform. Sports Direct already owns the Muddyfox, No Fear Dunlop and Everlast labels, the former of which was a trailblazer in the BMX and mountain bike markets in the UK.

Expecting to finalise the deal next month, the deal rescues the U.S. businesses from a period of uncertainty where the Vestis Retail Group (owner of EMS, Bob’s and Sport Chalet) declared bankruptcy. At the time Sport Chalet restructured as EMS. Bob’s became Eastern Outfitters, but quickly filed for chapter 11 backruptcy by February of 2017 with debts surpassing $100 million.

Eastern Mountain Sports sells bicycles both in store and online and while no bicycle labels were listed on February’s bankruptcy filing, Camelbak was owed $95,000.