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Cycling Weekly
Cycling Weekly
Adam Becket

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley set to take over cycling retailer ProBikeKit

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley is set to take control of cycling retailer ProBikeKit, as his Frasers Group is in talks to acquire the brand from THG, according to reports.

The group, which also owns Sports Direct, is expected to takeover ProBikeKit through its Evans Cycles subsidiary, Sky News reported this week. The deal is expected to go through by the end of this week.

Ashley bought Evans in 2018, and closed half of the cycling chain's stores. Ashley no longer runs Frasers in an executive capacity but remains its biggest shareholder. Instead, Michael Murray, the son-in-law of Ashley, runs the group. 

The deal will not be material in financial terms for either party, but will come in the wake of THG deciding to close or sell a number of its non-core subsidiaries, Sky News said.

ProBikeKit was founded in 1998, and was bought by THG in 2013 and absorbed into the then privately owned group's lifestyle division.

PBK's website says: "We have built on the solid foundations of our business where our passion for road cycling matches our relentless commitment to provide customers with a first-class service for the best road, mountain bike and cyclo-cross cycling kit available at the most affordable prices."

Frasers Group, which began with a single sports shop in Maidenhead, Berkshire, in 1982, owns 715 Sports Direct shops in the UK, as well as 50 Flannels shops, and more than 70 Evans Cycles shops and 250 Game shops.

Frasers Group and THG declined to comment on the PBK acquisition.

It is yet another change as the cycling market goes through a turbulent period in the UK. Just last week, stalwart distributor 2Pure entered administration.

It followed the collapse of its long-standing competitor Moore Large. That company folded in March this year and could trace its lineage all the way back to 1947.

Cycling Weekly reported last week that a group of 156 trade creditors to the company were set to be left out of pocket to the tune of £5.5m in total.

Administrators of that firm said a weak pound, surplus stock from the pandemic and the pressures of inflation had all contributed to the company’s demise.

Clothing companies Presca and Milltag have both disappeared due to economic woes, while Velovixen was rescued out of liquidation by fellow British brand Stolen Goat.

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