The country’s largest sporting goods chain, Sportisimo, is for sale according to financial daily Hospodářské noviny. With almost 100 outlets in the country and dozens more in neighbouring Slovakia and Poland, the owners are reportedly looking for a deal worth an estimated five billion crowns.
Sportisimo may sound like an Italian brand sport clothing and equipment store but in fact the company is Czech, founded by owners of Vietnamese descent. Over the years, Do Hong Son and Thai Ngoc Nguyen have turned the company, which began with a single store in Brno in 2000, into a powerhouse. Presently, Sportismo eclipses all other sports stores in the country combined: Intersport, A3 and Hervis Sport, and Hudy Sport; operating profits last year rose by 70 percent to 281 million crowns.
Hospodářské noviny reports that it is unclear whether owners may sell their entire holdings or still retain a stake; Mr Thai Ngoc Nguyen who runs the firm and owns 48 percent is reportedly considering hanging on to part of his share, depending on how negotiations with potential investors develop. According to the daily, the company has chosen Erste Corporate Banking to help with the potential sale. As for potential partners/buyers? Capital funds are among those reportedly addressed. But neither of the owners is commenting publically; the financial paper notes that it tried to contact both but was unsuccessful. Both are known to keep a low profile.
Sportisimo is a big success story: Cushman & Wakefield’s Jan Kotrbáček sums it up for the daily by saying the owners got into the market early and effectively, aiming for the mass market and placing a strong emphasis on price and offering a broad selection of items. While other firms folded or lost market share, Sportisimo, with stone & mortar venues but also e-shops focussing the domestic market and Germany, managed to attract a large customer base and to grow in size and strength.