British apparel company buying Indy-based Finish Line in $558 million deal

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A European firm will buy Indianapolis-based athletic apparel company Finish Line in a deal worth $558 million, the companies announced Monday.

According to a news release from the Finish Line, JD Sports Fashion Plc will acquire 100% of issued and outstanding Finish Line stock valued at $13.50 per share. The company said that’s a 28% premium compared to the company’s closing price of $10.55 on March 23.

JD Sports Fashion Plc, which is based in the United Kingdom, bills itself as the “leading European retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands.”

“The Special Committee appointed by the Finish Line board recommended and the board voted unanimously to approve entering into this merger agreement,” said Bill Carmichael, chairman of the Special Committee and lead director of the Finish Line Board of Directors. “With JD, Finish Line achieves immediate value for its shareholders and moves into a stronger position to compete as part of a global enterprise that leads in our industry.”

JD Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill called the deal “an excellent opportunity” for his company that will provide an immediate and “major presence” in the U.S. market.

The merger is subject to shareholder approval from both companies as well as regulatory approvals and other conditions. The companies expect to close the deal by June.

Finish Line about 930 stores nationwide at malls and Macy’s locations. The company employs about 13,000 people.