FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Sporting goods retailer SIGNA Sports United, owned by Austrian investor Rene Benko, is in talks to go public through a merger with a blank check company in a deal that could value the firm at up to $4 billion, two people familiar with the matter said.
SIGNA Sports United is working with several banks, including Citigroup Inc, on a potential transaction and is in preliminary talks with special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), including Yucaipa Acquisition Corp, the people said.
SIGNA Sports United is also nearing a deal to buy Britain-based online sporting goods store Wiggle, which is owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, the people said.
No agreements have been reached and there is no guarantee that deals will materialise, they added.
SIGNA and Wiggle declined to comment. Citigroup and Yucaipa were not immediately available for comment.
SIGNA Sports United explored a stock market listing in 2019 at a valuation of 1 billion euros but then opted for a fundraising, bringing in Asian retailers Aeon Co Ltd and Central Group as well as German insurer R+V.
SPACs raise funds in an initial public offering with the aim of buying a private firm, which then automatically gets a stock market listing.
SIGNA Sports United runs firms like bicycle online shops Fahrrad.de or Bikester, outdoor gear retailer Campz and online tennis platform Tennis-Point as well as team sport shops Outfitter and Stylefile.
The company runs more than 80 web shops in 17 countries, reaching over 4 million customers a year. The group expects sales of about $1.6 billion in its current fiscal year to September, the people said, adding this could more than double over the next four years.
In July 2020, it said nine-month sales had spiked by 28% as shoppers went online during the coronavirus pandemic with shops closed in lockdowns.
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