Sports Direct drops bid for Goals Soccer after 'limited' support from Goals' board

FILE PHOTO: Mike Ashley, founder and majority shareholder of sportswear retailer Sports Direct, leads journalists on a factory tour after the company's AGM, at the company's headquarters in Shirebrook, Britain, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

(Reuters) - Mike Ashley-led retail group Sports Direct SPD.L dropped its bid to take over Goals Soccer Centers, citing insufficient cooperation from the troubled football pitch operator's board.

Sports Direct, also Goals’ largest shareholder, made a 5-pence-a share offer for the five-a-side football pitch operator last month, which had then valued the company’s equity at about 3.8 million pounds.

The bid came just a few weeks after Goals said it will delist its shares as an investigation into accounting issues uncovered improper behavior going back almost a decade.

“Sports Direct had only limited and fitful access and cooperation from the board of Goals to support Sports Direct’s possible offer,” the sportswear retailer said late on Monday.

Sports Direct was unable to complete the necessary due diligence to progress the offer, the company said.

A spokesperson for Goals, however, told Reuters that “Goals has provided Sports Direct with all of the information they have requested as and when it became available,” adding that the board had not “frustrated” Sports Direct in any way from making an offer.

The unsuccessful bid adds to a long list of companies that Sports Direct has failed to scoop up this year - with department store chain Debenhams and House of Fraser among notable names that the Ashley-run business had eyed in the recent months.

Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber