Did you hear?…The Sports Authority to go private

In a $1.3 billion cash-and-debt deal, The Sports Authority (NYSE: TSA) said it plans to go private after agreeing to be acquired by an investor group led by an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners and members of Sports Authority's senior management team.
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In a $1.3 billion cash-and-debt deal, The Sports Authority (NYSE: TSA) said it plans to go private after agreeing to be acquired by an investor group led by an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners and members of Sports Authority's senior management team.

Shares will be acquired for $37.25 each in cash, representing a 20 percent premium on its closing price on Jan. 20 of $31.05. Its shares rose $5.85, or 18.8 percent, to $36.90 in Jan. 23 morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, surpassing its prior 52-week high of $34.36.

Unanimously approved by its board, the deal is expected to close in the second quarter, after shareholder approval and other closing conditions.

Leonard Green & Partners is the largest private-equity firm in Southern California and manages about $3.7 billion in private-equity capital. Its current portfolio includes investments in Rite Aid, Tire Rack, Rand McNally and Neiman Marcus Group.

Sports Authority said in a statement that going private would give it greater flexibility to accomplish its long-term goals.

The Wall Street Journal noted in an article about the buyout that retailers have been especially attractive to private-equity firms in the past few years, originally because they were cheap and then because they were a play on the real estate on which they sat.

Based in Englewood, Colo., The Sports Authority operates 398 stores in 45 states under the Sports Authority, Gart Sports and Sportmart names.

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