Rallye has announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Financière Immobilière Bordelaise (FIB) for the sale of the entire share capital of the third-largest sporting goods retailer in France, Groupe Go Sport, for the symbolic price of one euro, without assumption of debt and without any representations or warranties given by Rallye, as specified in the company’s statement. Rallye is expected to pay back only a portion of Go Sport’s debt, whose value has not been revealed.
The prospective buyer of Go Sport is a Bordeaux-based investment company, led by Michel Ohayon, which owns some other French retail operations as well as luxury hotels and wineries. It franchises 22 Galeries Lafayette department stores, and it bought last August Camaïeu, a chain of 511 women’s apparel stores, after it was hit hard by a first wave of coronavirus-related lockdowns. The company is also a minority shareholder in a large chain of toy shops, La Grande Recré.
Rallye is also the parent company of Casino, a large international food retail chain, which represents more than 90 percent of Rallye’s consolidated revenues, but it is highly indebted. The sale of Go Sport is expected to be completed by the end of the first half of 2021. It will subject to approval by the relevant anti-trust authorities and consultations with the representatives of Go Sport’s personnel, among other procedures.
Rallye had already indicated last year that it was looking for a buyer for Go Sport to help reduce its debt, which amounted to more than €3 billion as of June 30, 2020. It has agreed with its lenders on a refinancing package that will see the maturities of the loans stretched between 2023 and 2030.
In 2019, Rallye’s high debt led the company to divest the Polish subsidiary of Go Sport to Sportmaster and 91 Go Sport mountain shops to Skiset. It previously sold its profitable Courir chain of sneaker shops to another financial investor, Equistone Partners. Many years ago, Rallye was also the owner of The Athlete’s Foot, which is now a subsidiary of Intersport International Corp.