JD Sports has snapped up a near-10% stake in athleisure rival Footasylum but insisted it does not intend to make a takeover bid for the business.

The sports and leisure giant has acquired more than 8.6 million shares in Footasylum, representing an 8.3% stake.

JD said it has bought the shares “for investment purposes” and is “prepared to acquire up to an aggregate interest of 29.9% in Footasylum”.

However, it said it was “not intending to make an offer” for its high street rival.

If JD were to hold more than 29.9% of shares, it would be required to make a full takeover bid for the business under the Takeovers and Mergers code.

Footasylum was founded in 2005 by JD co-founder David Makin. He was later joined at the helm by his fellow JD co-founder John Wardle.

The retailer floated in November 2017, debuting on AIM at 164p. Its share price reached 258p by January 2018, but a string of profit warnings have sent its value plummeting since then.

Footasylum shares opened at 29.45p this morning but almost doubled to 53p following JD’s swoop.

Wardle, who was on board for the float, has since stepped down as executive chairman and been replaced by former JD boss Barry Bown.

Footasylum suffered a pre-tax loss of £4m in the 26 weeks to August 25 2018, compared with a £2.3m profit the previous year.

And it warned in January that full-year profits would come in at the lower end of expectations after “greater than expected” discounting over Christmas battered its margins.