10,000 JJB jobs at risk if sale of gym division falls through

More than 10,000 jobs are at risk at sports store JJB if a rival businessman successfully derails the sale of its gym division, it has emerged.

Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, has written to JJB’s landlords asking them not to deal with Dave Whelan, the owner of Wigan Athletic, who is in exclusive talks to buy the gyms and the sports shops.

Ashley reportedly tried to buy the chain before Christmas for £80m, but his offer was rejected and he was shut out of the auction.

Whelan, who founded JJB, needs to retrieve £40m he had in collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, to finance the £70m deal, which must happen this week if the jobs are to be saved.

Earlier today (23 March) Drapers reported the sale was likely to go ahead on 25 March, hours before the deadline when JJB needs to pay its landlords their quarterly rent.

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