Sports Direct, Go Outdoors and Mountain Warehouse have all registered interest in a takeover of troubled outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure.

Blacks Leisure, which has bank debts of around GBP36m, needs to refinance its existing banking facilities before the end of the current financial year. But its directors have admitted they do not believe they will be able to complete such a move.

The company put itself up for sale last week after it failed to gain support for the fund-raising from shareholders and potential new investors.

According to The Independent newspaper, first round bids for the outdoor chain will be due before Christmas, and Sports Direct, which has a 22% stake in the company, has notified the group of its interest. It will face competition from Go Outdoors, Mountain Warehouse and Cotswold Outdoor.

Private-equity firms are also interested, but the distressed state of Blacks Leisure means that an accelerated sale to a trade buyer, which has knowledge of its offer, is more likely, the paper reported.