Blacks Leisure, the outdoorswear retailer, has completed a £19.7m fundraising after overcoming a block by shareholder Sports Direct.
Sports Direct, which held a 28.5 per cent stake, stalled the rights issue in February before launching a bid for the company in March from which it later walked away. It was the only shareholder to vote against the fundraising, and because 99.99 per cent of other shareholders bought more shares, its stake has been diluted to 14.5 per cent.
“We’re pretty delighted to be honest because we’ve been trying to secure this fundraising since January of this year,” said Neil Gillis, chief executive. “We originally set out to raise £15-20m so we’re in a great position to open loads of new stores and refurbish our current estate.”
The money raised will fund 35 stores to open in the next two years. Mr Gillis said he had been pressing ahead with opening four new stores in the past couple of months and refurbishing others.
Sports Direct was able to stall the fundraising at first because it needed approval by 75 per cent of shareholders. But Blacks restructured the vote to enable it to pass with a simple majority.
“It effectively kind of halves [Sports Direct’s] shareholding in the company,” said Mr Gillis.
Sports Direct declined to comment.
The fundraising was composed of a placing and open offer of 37.2m new shares and a firm placing of 2.1m new shares at 54p a share – a 12.2 per cent discount to the closing price on the April 29, the day before the offer was announced.
“They’ve been trying to do this for some time and there’s been a lot of obstacles,” said Matthew McEachran, an analyst at Singer Capital Markets. “The management can now go forward with their plans and the business should benefit which I imagine is a big relief.”
Shares in Blacks fell ½p to close at 54¼p and shares in Sports Direct fell 4.65 per cent to close at 92.3p.
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