Business magnate Mike Ashley could save jobs in Dundee after swooping in to buy the assets of a collapsed retail chain.
DW Sports operated two shops in Dundee, at the Gallagher Retail Park and Dundee’s Murraygate. Its Fitness First gym, also located at Gallagher Retail Park, was not part of the insolvency process.
Mr Ashley’s Frasers Group said it will save “a number of jobs” after buying parts of DW Sports for £37 million.
Around 1,700 jobs were put at risk when DW Sports fell into administration at the start of the month.
The chain founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan, operated 73 gyms and 75 stores across the UK.
The deal includes It includes some of the company’s stock, but not the brand name DW, or the firm’s intellectual property.
“The transaction compliments (sic) the existing gym and fitness club portfolio within the company’s group and is consistent with the group’s elevation strategy,” it said in a statement.
“Frasers Group looks forward to elevating the gym and fitness assets acquired pursuant to the transaction under the group’s existing iconic Everlast brand, and is also pleased to have saved a number of jobs.”
The price could rise to £43.9 million if Frasers also acquires some leaseholds, the buyer said.
During the year ending March 31 2019, DW had gross assets of almost £195m, and made a loss of just over £20m.
DW appointed insolvency specialists on August 3, after its income was hit by the lockdown that forced its stores and gyms to close.
It had already revealed plans to shut 25 stores in July.
Earlier this month DW said it would wind down the retail business for good, with the remaining 50 stores to close.
Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United football club, is one of the most controversial business figures in Britain.
He was hauled before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in June 2016 to answer questions from MPs about working conditions – including claims he paid less workers less than the minimum wage – within the Sports Direct warehouses.
He has grown his influence on the High Street buy acquiring several brands. He now has stakes in Blacks, JD Sports, French Connection, Game, Debenhams, USC and Flannels.
In August, he took over 169-year-old department store chain House of Fraser in a £90m deal hours after it collapsed into administration.