March 26, 2018 / 6:49 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-JD Sports boosts U.S. presence with $558 mln Finish Line acquisition

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LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - British sports and fashion retailer JD Sports Fashion said on Monday it has agreed to buy U.S. firm The Finish Line for $558 million (396 million pounds), boosting its presence in the world's largest sportswear market.

JD Sports has exploited growing demand for branded sports shoes and clothes to overtake Sports Direct as Britain's leading sportswear retailer by market value and in recent years has also been expanding overseas.

It said it has agreed to pay $13.50 per share for Finish Line, one of the largest retailers of premium multi-branded athletic footwear, apparel and accessories in the U.S..

The firm trades from 556 Finish Line branded retail stores across 44 U.S. states and Puerto Rico and also has an online presence.

Finish Line is also the exclusive retailer of athletic shoes, both in-store and online, for Macy's, operating 375 branded and 188 unbranded concessions within Macy's stores.

"The acquisition offers the company the opportunity to expand its market leading elevated proposition into the most significant global market," JD said.

"It immediately gains the benefit of a significant physical and online retail presence and increases the importance of the company to its major international brand partners."

JD Sports said it would fund the deal through a new revolving credit facility and a new asset backed lending facility secured against Finish Line's inventory and receivables.

It forecast the acquisition would make a small incremental positive contribution to its results and earnings per share in the year to Feb. 2 2019. ($1 = 0.7064 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)

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