Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is competing against a number of retail names in a bid to buy Evans Cycles.

Mike Ashley is considering buying Evans Cycles

Ashley is seeking to buy Evans Cycles, which could cost around £100m, in order to help Sports Direct expand into the lucrative cycling market, according to The Telegraph.

Halfords and Wiggle are also believed to have expressed an interest, while other private equity firms are believed to be weighing up a bid for Active Capital-owned Evans Cycles.

It is understood Halfords has ruled out an acquisition of the business as it focuses on its Cycle Republic business.

Ashley previously entered talks to buy the cycling retailer before it was acquired by private equity group Active Capital for £35m in 2008.

Evans Cycles’ head of marketing James Backhouse told Retail Week last month that Active Capital had hired investment bank Canaccord Genuity to explore a potential sale of the business and said that a decision about the retailer’s future would happen “in the next few months”.

He said: “It’s not that [Active Capital] are unhappy it’s just that now feels like a good time. They are as optimistic about the future of the business as we are”.

Evans Cycles has an estimated 7.5% share of the UK cycling market and has increased its profitability of late. In its 2013/14 financial year the retailer reported EBITDA of £8m.