Deporvillage has found a buyer. As we reported in January, the owners of this international sports e-tailer based in Catalonia had engaged a financial advisor with a view toward selling a majority stake. JD Sports Fashion has since stepped in through its controlled holding company in Spain, the Iberian Sports Retail Group (ISRG), with a pledge to acquire 80 percent of its shares. The deal has yet to be approved by anti-trust authorities, notably in Portugal.
JD owns 50.2 percent of the shares in ISRG, with the balance in the hands of its former partners in the Spanish Sprinter chain and the former owner of SportZone chain, based in Portugal. The acquisition will provide all three partners with the reach and expertise of an online specialist in sporting goods for cycling, running and outdoor activities, complementing the growing omni-channel operations of JD, Sprinter and SportZone in the Iberian Peninsula.
Like Tradeinn, another Spanish sports e-tailer, Deporvillage can be regarded as a small European replica of Signa Sports United, the big German-based sports e-tailer that is now planning to go public with the help of other investors. Founded in 2010 by Xavier Pladellorens and Ángel Corcuera, who will continue to serve as chief executive officer and chief purchasing officer, respectively, it has been expanding outside Spain, launching websites in Italy (2013), France (2013), Portugal (2014), Germany (2018) and the U.K. (2018). It now receives orders from customers in about a hundred countries. It also established its own cycling brand, Finisseur, in 2019.
In 2020, Deporvillage generated a pre-tax profit of €7.7 million on revenues of €117.8 million, which were up by 105 percent year-on-year. Gross assets stood at €51.1 million at the end of last year. ISRG has agreed to a purchase price of up to €140.4 million for an 80 percent stake in the company. Out of this, an amount of €40.4 million is being set aside for a deferred payment contingent on the performance of Deporvillage through the end of this year.
Much of the company’s recent expansion was funded by outside investors, and all of them are apparently cashing out through this transaction/ The founders’ share of the equity in Deporvillage has accordingly been diluted to a minority stake. Post-acquisition, they founders will be retaining a 20 percent stake in the company. As negotiated, however, the deal provides for their potential exit, with call and put options, two years from the close of the transaction.
According to JD Sports Fashion’s executive chairman, Peter Cowgill, “Deporvillage has a strong consumer-centric approach and is the market leader in its categories in Spain with significant potential for further international development.”
With the help of JD, ISRG has already started to branch out of the Iberian Peninsula. JD recently transferred ownership of two Dutch sporting goods retail chains, Aktiesport and Perry Sport, to ISRG.
If the acquisition goes through, ISRG can set its sights on a new target for annual sales of €900 million. Its staff will exceed 9,000 persons, while its product range will comprise about 1,000 brands in 60 sports. In 2020, ISRG reached sales of €645 million, ending the year with a total of 360 physical shops and three web stores.
Deporvillage recently announced that it is moving its headquarters within Catalonia from Manresa and the 22@Barcelona innovation district to Sant Fruitós de Bages.
Arcano y Cuatrecasas has advised Deporvillage in the latest transaction, while King & Wood Mallesons has advised ISRG.
JD has been on a major acquisition spree in the U.S., the U.K. and Poland lately. Reportedly, it bought most recently Missy Empire, a small online brand of women’s wear in Manchester.