• Sports Direct has taken control of Eastern Outfitters
  • Acquisition follows debt and loan deal
  • Eastern Outfitters owns Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports


Sports Direct has bagged two US outdoor chains after making a debt purchase and loan.

Sports Direct, controlled by billionaire tycoon Mike Ashley, has taken control of Eastern Outfitters, the parent company of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, The Sunday Times reported.

The swoop gives Ashley a US presence almost a year after he attempted to buy the intellectual property of Sports Authority.

Eastern Outfitters, which has almost 90 shops, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February.

Before its collapse, Sports Direct bought its debt and injected money to stop the business going into liquidation. The UK retailer then provided a loan of $85m (£67.9m) so that the US company could continue to trade.

Ashley had intended to act as Eastern Outfitters’ ‘stalking horse’ – a bidder given the first chance to make an offer to set the minimum price for others – but agreed a purchase instead after other creditors objected.

They described the process as “inherently unfair”.

Last week a court gave the go-ahead for the closure of approximately 50 stores ahead of the sale.