Eastern Mountain Sports, Bob’s Purchased By UK Retailer Sports Direct

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

After their parent company went bankrupt twice in one year, sporting goods chains Bob’s and Eastern Mountain Sports have a new owner: Sports Direct, which already operates hundreds of stores in Europe and has had its eye on U.S. expansion for a while.

If the company manages to not become insolvent within ten months, it will be an improvement over the company’s past leadership and financial position.

The UK-based retailer, which is paying $101 million to acquire the remaining Eastern Mountain and Bob’s locations, also owns a number of apparel and sporting goods brands, including Everlast, Slazenger, and Kangol.

However, Reuters reports that analysts are critical of this acquisition, noting that Sports Direct’s stock price has been falling in recent months.

“What is not required, in our view, is a major, and not inexpensive, distraction, 3,000 miles away,” argued analysts at Peel Hunt.

Sports Direct has been eager to get into the United States market for a while, considering teaming up with the New York-based chain Modell’s to take over a number of Sports authority stores when that chain closed, keeping them running under the Sports authority brand name. That transaction didn’t work out, but Sports Direct clearly still dreamed of coming to America. Now has been anointed the auction winner in this bankruptcy case, and will run its new 50 stores without an American co-owner.