GMS Group Netherlands, a buying group with 127 shoe retailers, is in advanced talks to take over the Sport 2000 license in the country. In a report to its members, GMS Netherlands describes the potential deal as an opportunity to move into the sports market.

The Sport 2000 license in the Netherlands was put up for sale a few weeks ago after Euretco, the buying group that held the license, merged with Intres, another large-scale Dutch buying group that holds the license for Intersport in the Netherlands. The Dutch competition authority approved the tie-up on the condition that the new entity would divest one of the two sports banners. The Sport 2000 franchise is currently used by 104 stores.

GMS Group Netherlands, the Dutch arm of the international buying group, was formed in January 2011 by Bart Dirven, a Dutch shoe retailer, former member of Garant and former interim general manager of Garant Nederland; and Cor Borger, a former member of Garant's management board. Most of the Dutch shoe retailers who are members of GMS were previously linked to Garant.

GMS Group's managers confirmed that they were preparing to discuss an offer with the board of Sport 2000 International last week, but they said that their talks were not exclusive and they would provide further details once they had a firm response. Among other things, it remains to be seen what assets they want to acquire. The former Euretco had three assets relating to Sport 2000: the retail license for the Netherlands; its business portfolio consisting of franchise deals with retailers; and its share in Sport 2000 International.

The board of Euretco, the name picked for the entity that resulted from the merger between Intres and Euretco, previously held talks with Ariston-Nord-West-Ring. This buying group already holds the license for Sport 2000 in Germany and has an organization in the Netherlands comprising a franchise network with about 90 sports retailers.