by Stephen Garner

Finish Line Shoe StoreBritish sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc has agreed to acquire Indianapolis-based athletic retailer The Finish Line, Inc. at a price of $13.50 per share in cash representing an aggregate deal value of approximately $558 million.

With this merger, Finish Line moves into a stronger position to compete as part of a global enterprise, while JD gains a significant physical and online retail presence with direct access in the U.S., which it has long identified as a highly attractive growth opportunity.

The combined purchasing power of Finish Line and JD, coupled with the strategic alignment with major international sportswear brands in North America, is expected, on completion, to enable the enlarged group to bring a highly differentiated multi-channel retail proposition to the U.S. market.

“Finish Line has long admired JD and their commitment to serve customers with premium brands through a unique and innovative retail experience,” said Sam Sato, chief executive officer of Finish Line. “We are thrilled to partner with them and look forward to realizing the impact we will have on the marketplace together.”

“We are extremely excited to be joining up with Finish Line, a well-established U.S. operator,” added Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD. “The acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for JD to establish its market-leading multi-brand proposition in the world’s largest athleisure market. It immediately offers a major presence in the U.S., a clear next step to further increase our global scale. Finish Line has many similarities to JD with a strong brick-and-mortar offering complemented by an advanced and well-invested digital platform. We are looking forward to working with Finish Line’s experienced management team to bring best in class retail theatre to the U.S. Our combined extensive knowledge of the retail market and our product and marketing relationships with global brand partners will benefit our customers, in turn supporting the continued future growth of JD.”

The deal, which is still subject to shareholder agreement, is expected to close no earlier than June.