Hidary Group attempted to get back in the bidding for Everlast Worldwide Friday (29 June), but Sports Direct International more than covered Hidary's sweetened offer.

Everlast said late Friday that its merger agreement with Sports Direct had been amended, raising the purchase price to US$33.00 a share or more than $182m.

Through its Brands Holdings subsidiary, Sports Direct agreed to purchase Everlast for $30 a share, or $168m, on Thursday.

However, Hidary, which had reached an agreement to acquire Everlast for $26.50 a share, or $146m, on 1 June, came back with an offer of $31.25 a share, or $175m, on Friday. Everlast had already paid Hidary a $3m termination fee pursuant to the initial merger agreement signed on 3 June.

The enhanced offer from Sports Direct is nearly 25% higher than the original Hidary bid. The $33 a share offer is 42.5% higher than Everlast's 31 May closing price and 24% above the average price for an Everlast share over the past month.

Hidary said that its offer has the support of Everlast's largest independent shareholder, Burlingame, which holds about 18% of its outstanding stock.

The Sports Direct offer has the support of the estate of George Q Horowitz, the late founder of Everlast's predecessor company. Seth Horowitz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Everlast and George's son, is also pledged to back the Sports Direct offer.

News of the new Hidary offer reached investors early in the day Friday, but word of the enhanced Sports Direct agreement came after the close of the equity markets. Everlast's shares ended Friday's Nasdaq trading session at $32.18, up $2.68 or 9.1%.
 
By Arnold J Karr.