Sports Direct/JJB Sports

In December 2012, the UK Office of Fair Trading unconditionally approved a completed acquisition by Sports Direct of certain JJB Sports stores. This approval came two years after the UK Competition Commission had concluded that Sports Direct and JJB Sports together comprised a relevant antitrust market. In the latest case, the OFT accepted the failing firm defense on the grounds that the acquired stores would inevitably have exited the market but for the transaction, that there was no less anti-competitive purchaser than Sports Direct, and that the exit of the purchased stores and dispersal of their sales across the ‘out of market’ competitors would not have been substantially less anti-competitive than their purchase by Sports Direct. A Compass Lexecon team led by Neil Dryden advised Sports Direct. Compass Lexecon worked with Stephen Smith of RPC LLP in London.