Shoppers are seen during British clothing retailer Topshop's grand opening of the chain's New York flagship store, November 5, 2014.
Shoppers are seen during British clothing retailer Topshop's grand opening of the chain's New York flagship store, November 5, 2014. Topshop Topman opened the retail chain's new 5th Avenue location to shoppers on Wednesday. The retail space is 40,000 square feet and is filled with one floor of men's fashions and three of women's. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Sportswear giant, Sport’s Direct, owned by Mike Ashely of New Castel has acquired Irish department store Heatons, by taking a majority stake in it. Not stopping there, it also clinched an agreement with the holding company to buy out the remaining stake of the founding shareholders.

Heatons is specialised in clothing and home-wares. It has 44 stores in the Republic of Ireland and 10 more in Northern Ireland.

Sports Direct's deal was with Heatons' minority shareholder Sandra Minor with the intent to raise its existing stake in the retailer by more than 50 percent. Alongside the deal, comes the conditional 'put-and-call' option that will allow Sport Direct to buy out the stakes of family founders Mark Heaton, Hugh Heaton and John O'Neill to gain complete control over the company, the Telegraph reported.

The deal is valued at €47.5m (AU$73.70 million). “We look forward to accelerating investment into the existing store portfolio and strengthening the Heatons and Sports Direct brands across Ireland,” Sports Direct Chief Executive Dave Forsey said, Chronicle Live reports.

Holding company Warrnambool posted a consolidated revenue of €219.3m (AU$339.7 million) and pre-tax profit of €10m (AU$15.52) in 2015. Announcing the acquisition, Sports Direct said the deal would be financed from the group’s operating cash-flow and other options.

The purchase agreement and the conditional option agreement will need clearance from the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The options have to be exercised within 2 July 2017 after the official nod.

CEO facing charge

Meanwhile, CEO Forsey, considered to be right-hand man of Mike Ashley is facing a volley of criminal charges connected with the collapse of fashion chain USC. This follows the Insolvency Service launching criminal proceedings against Forsey, the CEO of Sports Direct, for failing to give proper notification that the USC staff would be retrenched. The case will come up for hearing at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court, This Is Money reports.

The USC was wholly owned by Sports Direct and it retrenched 83 staff at 15 minutes' notice at Scotland’s Dundonald warehouse. A probe by MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee accused the firm of behaving like a “backstreet outfit.”

Initiating the proceedings against the CEO, the Insolvency Service said: “We can confirm that criminal proceedings have been commenced against David Michael Forsey.” It said that he is being charged with an offence for violating section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992. The Insolvency Service also said its investigation into the conduct of the company’s directors is continuing.

For feedback/comments, contact the writer at or let us know what you think below.