Ashley drops bid for East Kilbride’s Goals Soccer

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International said it does not, after all, intend to make an offer for East Kilbride-based Goals Soccer Centres plc, citing insufficient cooperation from the troubled five-a-side football pitch operator’s board. 

Sports Direct, also Goals’ largest shareholder, made a 5p-a-share takeover approach for Goals last month, which had then valued the company’s equity at about £3.76 million.

Sports Direct had to make a firm offer for Goals or walk away by 5pm on October 21 under takeover code rules.

Its bid interest came just a few weeks after Goals said it would delist its shares after an investigation into its accounting uncovered “improper behaviour” going back almost a decade.

In a stock exchange statement, Sports Direct said: “Further to the announcement made by Sports Direct on 23 September 2018, Sports Direct confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Goals Soccer Centres plc and is consequently bound by the restrictions under Rule 2.8 of the Code …

“Sports Direct had only limited and fitful access and cooperation from the board of Goals to support Sports Direct’s possible offer. 

“Accordingly Sports Direct was unable to complete the necessary due diligence to progress the offer …”

A spokesperson for Goals told Reuters that “Goals has provided Sports Direct with all of the information they have requested as and when it became available,” adding that the board had not “frustrated” Sports Direct in any way from making an offer.