Sports Direct Bid To Buy Goals Soccer Centre Collapses
Earlier in September, Sports Direct placed a bid to buy Goals Soccer Centres for 5p per share, a deal which was valued at £3.8m. However, the proposal didn’t go through in what Sports Direct called the failure of cooperation by Goals’ board of directors.
Sports Direct, which already owns 18.9% stake in Goals, said it cancelled its bid to buy the rest of the company due to failure of due diligence. According to the company, Goals’ board members failed to collaborate with Sports Direct team for negotiations.
Two days after cancelling their bid, Sports Direct CEO, and Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley hit out on the football pitch operator, further confirming that he had lost interest to buy the business. According to the retail tycoon, Goals and its board failed to engage with the offer process actively. He termed the operator’s cooperation as “limited and fitful.” The retail giant further went ahead to deny claims by Goals that it shared all the required information.
In their public statement, Sports Direct stated that the attitude by Goals board made no sense since the beginning. According to the retailer, this included their proclamation to Sports Direct senior management that one person perpetuated the issues impacting and leading to the catastrophic failure of the business.
The statement said that another independent shareholder of a UK-listed company had been wiped out through the skullduggery of others. In the report, Sports Direct blamed the current rules and regulations for failure to protect independent contractors or prevent fiscal irresponsibility. According to them, “the behaviour by Goals’ board was incredibly ignorant, incompetent, willful or otherwise at the very least or potentially worse.”
Goals’ trouble started in March when it revealed accounting errors amounting to £12million, something that led to the suspension of their shares. The sports venue admitted to “improper behaviour” and was consequently delisted from AIM Stock Market in September. After the emergence of the scandal, Goals advertised itself for sale in August.
After the retail empire, Sports Direct withdrew their bid to buy Goals; the latter was purchased by a rival football pitch operator, Northwind 5s Ltd. The new buyer has support from Inflexion and Soccerworld, a private equity firm running five centres in Scotland and England. Claims state the new company bought Goals assets for £27m. Northwind, which is located in East Kilbride, operates five-a-side pitch in 45 various location in the US and UK.
According to the statement released by Goals, the new company immediately took over the firm’s administration and assets but retained jobs for 750 of their staff. The report further stated that it sold its shares due to some severe accounting issues dating back 10 years. The firm admitted under-reporting its tax liabilities, an action that left it owing over £13m to HMRC. It stated that the bill could be higher than that as it may have overstated its profits by £40m since 2009.
Cooperation with Lenders and Advisers to Resolve VAT Misdeclaration Issues
The company further went to explain that the last eight month has seen it work tirelessly with advisers and lenders trying to identify and resolve VAT misdeclaration issues and other accounting issues that have faced the firm for years. It said it had explored every possible avenue to deliver the best possible outcome for all its stakeholders. It was looking for a solution based on its;
– Inappropriate accounting
– Unresolved VAT issues
The firm finally resolved to delist and undertake a merger and acquisition process as soon as possible to help get a buyer for its business processes and assets. The decision led to the company being bought by Soccerworld, which is run by Barry and Ian McDermott. Goals Soccer Centre was founded by Ian, their father in 1987 before he sold in 2000. Goals has over 30,000 teams playing weekly, making it a good opportunity to place your stake on ComeOn Betting casino.
In a joint statement, the brothers said it was fascinating in returning to the company. They noted how big the company had grown over the years and confirmed that they were willing to collaborate with Inflexion to grow the company further and continue to provide their loyal customer base with first-class football facilities.