Go Sport: The future buyer will be revealed on April 28
While Go Sport owner, Hermione People & Brands, has given up on presenting a recovery plan, the various candidates for its takeover took the stand on April 18. The Grenoble Commercial Court will announce its decision for GO Sport Group and Go Sport France on April 28, according to the prosecutor François Touret de Coucy. The 2,200 Go Sport employees will have to wait a few more days.
In the midst of financial turmoil, Bordeaux businessman Michel Ohayon delegated on Tuesday a manager from Financière Immobilière Bordelaise (FIB), the holding company at the head of his empire, to officially inform the court of the withdrawal announced by HPB in a press release on Monday evening. This defection and the absence of an appeal will allow the takeover offers to be examined "with more serenity" this afternoon, stressed Me Bledniak, the employees' lawyer.
Géraldine Rey, an employee at a Go Sport store in Grenoble and a CGT representative, said she was "relieved" that HPB had withdrawn but "saddened" by the idea that "the Go Sport brand might disappear."
Two of the candidates for the takeover stand out from the twenty or so offers: the British company Frasers and Intersport France. "The choice will not be easy", noted Me Bledniak, "these are two solid offers, but with radically different social projects."
In its final offer, Frasers' subsidiary, Sports Direct, proposes to take over 75 shops, instead of the 74 initially announced, and 136 of the 227 head office employees, instead of the 117 initially offered. For the store staff, Sports Direct is committed to taking over 1,477 employees, out of the 1,574 identified.
The British group says that it wants to put Go Sport stores under the Sports Direct umbrella "in a reasoned and gradual manner over the next three or four years." On the downside, its reputation has often been overshadowed by its social practices, which have been the subject of strong criticism in the past, particularly regarding the working conditions of its employees.
For its part, Intersport France has made a takeover proposal in a joint venture with Qatari company, Al-Mana, and is offering to take over 72 shops, 1,446 of the store employees, and 185 of the Go Sport Group head office employees, according to the file consulted by AFP.
Other buyers have also applied, local companies, some of which are franchised under the Sport 2000 umbrella, or groups such as Centrakor Stores, La Foir'Fouille or even LIDL. They are offering partial takeovers of Go Sport's assets and employees.
The parent company Go Sport Group brings together the activities of the retailer's headquarters in Sassenage near Grenoble and 46 master franchise shops internationally. Its subsidiary Go Sport France has 82 integrated shops, 87 franchised shops (Go Sport and Endurance Shop) and online stores.
Another of the group's assets, Wilsam, which operates Gap's activities in France, will have dedicated hearings on April 26 in the morning and afternoon. The Commercial Court states that a date for deliberation will be announced the same day.
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