British retailer completes $558M acquisition of Indianapolis-based Finish Line

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United Kingdom-based JD Sports Fashion Plc has completed its $558 million acquisition of Indianapolis-based retailer The Finish Line Inc., the two companies announced Monday morning.

The closing culminates a deal that was announced March 26.

JD operates more than 1,000 stores in Europe and had $3.4 billion in annual revenue in 2017, while Finish Line has about 555 stand-alone U.S. stores, another 375 shops inside Macy's, and $1.8 billion in annual revenue.

JD, the leading European retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, plans to retain Finish Line management and use the Indianapolis-based company as its platform for North American expansion.

Finish Line shares ceased trading Friday, closing the day at $13.51 each. The stock jumped from $10.46 to $13.71 per share after the deal was announced and has traded between $13.44 and $13.89 ever since.

Finish Line stockholders received $13.50 in cash for each of their shares, a 28 percent premium to Finish Line's closing price on March 23. The price was far below the company's all-time high of about $30 a share, achieved four years ago.

“We are delighted to announce that we have today completed the acquisition of Finish Line,” said Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, in written comments “This marks a momentous step in JD Sports’ global expansion and represents an exciting opportunity to bring our market-leading, multi-brand retail proposition to the world’s largest athleisure market, both online and in stores. Our team will now collaborate with the experienced Finish Line management team and the key global brands to bring best-in-class retail theaer and multi-channel consumer experience to the U.S.”

The first Finish Line store was opened in Indianapolis in 1982 by Alan Cohen, David Klapper, John Domont, Larry Sablosky and Dave Fagin.
Cohen, Klapper and Domont owned a dozen Athlete’s Foot franchises in Indiana and Louisville that were converted into Finish Line stores over the next four years.

The company went public in 1992 after it had grown to 105 stores and $100 million in annual revenue. Today it has about 13,000 employees company-wide.

“Today, with the closing of this merger with JD Sports, Finish Line opens an exciting new chapter,” Finish Line CEO Sam Sato said in written remarks. “With a global footprint, together we will bring leading-edge innovation and service to our customers.”

JD Sports’ interest in Finish Line dates back to at least August 2016, when Sato and Cowgill attended the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Barnes & Thornburg LLP served as legal counsel to Finish Line. PJ Solomon served as lead financial adviser.

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