The UK’s competition watchdog has begun an investigation into the takeover of a major outdoors retailer.
The Competition and Markets Authority said it has concerns the acquisition of GO Outdoors may result in the lessening of competition in the sector.
The authority has issued an initial enforcement order to Pentland Group, the majority owner of JD Sports, and JD Sports itself, after the company announced it was snapping up the retailer in November.
The order was made on Thursday and puts on hold any further merging of Pentland and GO Outdoors and organisational structure of the two companies.
The CMA order also prohibits the selling off of any of the two companies’ assets, and changes to key staff posts.
Any such changes would need the prior approval of the authority during the period of investigation.
No date has yet been set by the CMA for the inquiry’s launch. The action is being brought under the Enterprise Act 2002.
The Pentland Group owns 57 per cent of JD Sports which operates, among other retailers, Millets, Blacks, Tiso and Ultimate Outdoors. Pentland also owns the leading outdoors brand Berghaus.
The Pentland Group began life in the early 1930s as the Liverpool Shoe Company. It became a privately owned company in 1999.
The company had a turnover of £2.4bn last year, with a pre-tax profit of £185m.
The CMA said any written submissions on competition or public interest of the takeover should be sent to Elena Prattent at its London office.