JD Sports defends car park meeting with Footasylum head
JD Sports has refuted claims that it breached any corporate governance rules when its executive chairman Peter Cowgill was filmed meeting Footaslyum head Barry Bown in a car park.
Footage of the meeting was published by the Sunday Times at the weekend.
JD Sports announced it was buying Footasylum in 2019, but following an investigation, the Competitions and Market Authority said again last week that it would lead to a worse deal for customers. This means that JD Sports must now sell Footasylum.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning, JD Sports said: “Peter Cowgill has known Barry Bown on a business and personal basis for over 25 years.
“As a result, it is not unusual, or in any way suspicious or illegitimate, for them to meet from time to time, including in relation to the ongoing review by the Competition and Markets Authority of JD’s acquisition of Footasylum.
“The Sunday Times omitted to report on the positive obligation that JD has under the terms of the Interim Enforcement Order to take all reasonable steps to encourage key staff of the Footasylum business (which includes Barry Bown) to remain with the business.”
JD Sports said the CMA was fully informed about the meeting which took place on 5 July. Following the CMA’s announcement last week, JD Sports is now studying its report and considering its options.
In the statement today, the company added: “It is disappointing that the Sunday Times has not reported in a more balanced way on the highly irregular and potentially illegal covert surveillance undertaken by a third party for their own interests. JD hopes that a regulator, tasked with acting in the wider public interest, is able to more critically regard the actions of the third party for what they are.”
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