Bids for outdoor goods specialist Blacks Leisure are unlikely to match the level offered by rival Sports Direct earlier this year, analysts fear.

Sports Direct, controlled by tycoon Mike Ashley and which has a 14% stake in Blacks, offered 62p per share in March.

But analysts said that continued tough trading at Blacks, which in July reported a like-for-likes sales decline of 7.5% and is expected to post a first-half loss of about £3m next week, means would-be buyers are unlikely even to match the 54p per share of Blacks’ equity fundraising earlier this year. Arden analyst Nick Bubb said: “I wouldn’t get carried away about it being 54p or 62p.”

Blacks revealed on Tuesday that it is in preliminary discussions with several parties potentially interested in the company “or certain of its trading activities and related assets”. The news prompted Blacks’ shares to surge 25% on the day to 42.5p. Blacks has hired McQueen as adviser, a sign that a deal of some sort this time around may be more likely than previously.

The identity of potential buyers is unknown but likely candidates are thought to include private equity firms such as Lion Capital, which owns Cotswold Outdoor.

Observers believe that brand owners, such as Pentland, may also be interested in gaining control of Blacks in order to safeguard their interests. Pentland took a stake of almost 6% in Blacks in May, reportedly because it was concerned about Ashley winning control.

Pentland has built stakes in public companies in which it has interests before. It controls more than 50% of JD Sports Fashion. North Face owner VF Corporation also took a stake in Blacks earlier this year, which was understood to be for similar reasons to Pentland.

Ashley’s intentions are unknown.