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Sports Direct buys USC & Cruise owned by Sir Tom Hunter
Jul '11
Sports Direct International plc, the UK's leading sports retailer, announces that it has acquired an 80% shareholding in West Coast Capital (USC) Ltd, a top young branded fashion business, and in Cruise Clothing Ltd, one of the UK's leading independent luxury retailers, for a total cash consideration of £7.0m.

Sir Tom Hunter has been involved with USC since 2004 and he purchased Cruise in December 2010. Sir Tom will continue as a significant investor in both USC and Cruise, retaining a 20% shareholding, and will remain as Chairman of both companies. Sir Tom will also provide strategic guidance to the newly-established Premium and Luxury Lifestyle division of Sports Direct International.

USC currently has 38 stores across the UK and turnover in the 12 months to 30 January 2011 was £70.0 million. Cruise has 10 stores in the UK and an annual turnover of circa £20 million.

Sports Direct will provide a facility of up to £20 million to enable the existing management teams to develop the two businesses, which enjoy premium market positions. New USC stores are due to open in Swindon and Newbury in the autumn of this year. Management will build on excellent supply relationships with brands to enhance store merchandising and stock availability.

Sir Tom Hunter said:

"This deal will transform the prospects for both USC and Cruise and our employees at a time of extraordinary turbulence in the High Street. I've known the Sports Direct team for many years and have huge respect for their talent and look forward to co-investing with them. Sports Direct has a truly exceptional track record in building partnerships with its customers and its staff."

Dave Forsey, Chief Executive of Sports Direct said:

"We are pleased to be taking this opportunity to work with Tom and his teams in the premium and luxury sector of the market. While USC and Cruise will remain independent of Sports Direct, we will support the businesses with our operational expertise."

Sports Direct International plc

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