JD Sports has acquired sports apparel company Canterbury Europe for £6.5 million.
The purchase of Canterbury is for the European arm of the New Zealand founded operation. The deal also includes the global rights to the brand.
Not known for specialising in football, JD Sports will now need to consider whether to attempt to play a bigger role in the industry. One of the first decisions will be whether to continue to make the kits for Portsmouth football club.
KPMG, which was appointed as administrators of Canterbury Europe Ltd on July 13, has sold the trade and assets of the Stockport-based European trading arm to JD for an undisclosed sum, preserving approximately 50 jobs. In addition, the Australia and New Zealand businesses will be acquired by a third party for an undisclosed sum.
Bury-based JD will license the Australasia and New Zealand brand while operating the brand itself in the UK and across Europe. Two weeks ago it bought a 48 per cent stake in Rochdale-based KooGa Rugby Ltd, which was previously owned by JJB Sports Plc (LSE: JJB).
Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD, said the Canterbury brand would " further diversify the group's overall interests in the sports and related leisurewear markets".
"At the price it looks a good business. We are confident in the management team, as we are with KooGa. With a bit more financial backing and hopefully a greater level of financial stewardship, we believe it can do well.
"This is a JD acquisition but it doesn't form part of the JD retail strategy," said Cowgill, who added that combining the two brands would create a "pretty dominant" combination in the rugby market.