UK-based sports retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc has announced plans to acquire Groupe Courir in a move that will expand its footprint in Europe.

Courir, majority owned by Equistone Partners Europe, is a leading sports footwear and apparel player, with 313 stores across six countries in Europe.

The proposed acquisition, for an enterprise value of €520m, is subject to French law, consultation processes with employee representatives, and approval from the European Commission. If approved, the acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.

JD plans to fund the acquisition through available cash resources after deducting a net debt of €195m, which would be refinanced at completion.

Régis Schultz, CEO of JD, said: “We look forward to concluding the contemplated transaction, welcoming the Courir team to the group and then working with management to fulfil Courir’s global potential. Investing in quality complementary concepts whilst furthering the growth of JD itself is a key strategic pillar for the group and one which we will continue to pursue in the future.

“Securing greater control over the long-term development of JD and prioritising the development of the JD brand is a key pillar in our growth strategy in Europe. It will give us simpler decision-making, allowing us to use our assets more efficiently. At the same time, it will considerably simplify the group operations.”

Louise Deglise-Favre, apparel analyst at Global Data, tell Just Style exclusively: “The acquisition of Courir will help JD Sports grow its presence in France thanks to the retailer’s many stores across the country. Courir is well-established as a trainers specialist and has a solid brand image which resonates well with young shoppers thanks to its product offering which includes many staples of the streetwear aesthetic.”

Courir will maintain its identity and run autonomously from JD’s French operations. Leveraging Courir’s extensive knowledge in managing female-oriented stores will significantly broaden the capabilities and global opportunities across JD, the retailer said. The senior management team and operational infrastructure of Courir would be retained.

At JD’s recent Capital Markets Event, it emphasised the importance of “Complementary Concepts” to leverage its existing premium concepts, including JD. With Courir’s primary focus on the female consumer, this proposed acquisition is in line with JD’s growth strategy.

Michael Armstrong was recently appointed as JD’s new global managing director to drive the group’s growth and further consolidate its position as a leading global sports-fashion powerhouse.