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Blacks Leisure 'to be sold within days'

Troubled camping and outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure is expected to announce a buyer within days.

The news comes as it emerged the owner of outdoor retailer Yeomans has bought the tent and camping accessories brand Gelert.

Blacks Leisure Group, which owns more than 300 Millets and Blacks stores and employs 3,500 people, said it had received a number of offers to buy the bulk of its business.

In a statement, the group said it would briefly enter administration as part of the rescue deal but that stores would remain open for business in the meantime.

Blacks was put up for sale last month after reportedly running up debts of £36 million.

Sportwear retailers Sports Direct, owned by Newcastle United chief Mike Ashley, and JD Sports are said to be among the interested parties, as well as Dragon's Den entrepreneur Peter Jones.

Shares in Blacks, which have fallen 97 per cent over the last year, were suspended on Friday following the announcement. 

The Blacks statement said: "The board has now determined that any sale of the trade, assets and brands will be effected through an administration process.

"Therefore it is expected that the process to commence the appointment  of administrators of the company and certain of its subsidiaries will begin shortly although the actual appointments are only likely to take effect just before the completion of any such sale.

"The company expects to be in a position to announce a sale of substantially all of the trade, assets and brands of the group within the next few days."

Brian Green, Richard Fleming and David Costley-Wood, of accountants KPMG, will be appointed as the administrators once details of the sale have been finalised.

Meanwhile, corporate dealmaker Jason Granite, who owns retailer Yeomans, has bought North Wales based tent firm Gelert. He reportedly plans to merge the two businesses.

Gelert was founded in the Snowdonia village of Beddgelert in 1975 by Alastair and Jane Langdon with the vision of creating affordable, good quality outdoor gear.

The company, based in Porthmadog in North Wales, grew to employ around 150 people but announced job cuts last year.

In an email to trade customers, Gelert chairman Mr Langdon said he had decided to retire and had sold his shares to Jason Granite.

Mr Granite, a former distressed-debt trader with Deutsche Bank, bought Yeomans last summer.  


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