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JD founders set for big payday as Footasylum unveils plans to float on AIM

The float comes at an interesting time given the troubles high street retailers have had in recent years

Footasylum was established in 2005 by David Makin, with his former business partner John Wardle joining him a few years later

The two founders of JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) and their families are set to net a tidy windfall after announcing plans to float their latest high street venture, Footasylum, on AIM.

No specific details of the listing were given in this morning’s statement, but previous reports had suggested an initial public offering (IPO) valued at up to £150mln.

The Footasylum sale – pegged for next month – will lead to a big payday for David Makin and John Wardle who own 10% of the company. Makin’s three children own the other 90% of the business which is run by Clare Nesbitt, his daughter.

Wardle and Makin pocketed around £45mln after they sold out of JD Sports – which still bears their first initials – back in 2005.

Makin used his chunk of the proceeds almost immediately to set up Footasylum and was joined three years later by his former business partner.

 Footasylum, which generated underlying earnings of £11.2mln on revenues of £147mln last year, focuses on premium ‘on-trend’ footwear and apparel and stocks brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike and Adidas, as well as several lines of own-brand products.

There are currently 60 stores across the UK but it plans to use some of the funds from the IPO to more than double that figure to 150, targeting between eight and ten new openings a year.

Cash will also be spent on improving the company’s digital offering over the next three years as part of a broader upgrade of its IT systems to support growth.

"We are thrilled to be announcing our intention to list on AIM. This is a logical next step in Footasylum’s upward trajectory as we seek to build on our exciting product-led, multi-channel expansion strategy,” said chief executive Nesbitt.

“We pride ourselves on being a dynamic, adaptive and fast-moving business with a strong competitive position, a great stable of third party and own brands, and a disciplined approach to delivering sustainable growth.

“We see substantial opportunities ahead across our retail, online and wholesales channels, and believe that we have the people, products and strategy to realise them.”

Assuming the float goes as planned, former JD chief executive Barry Brown will join the board as executive chairman next summer when John Wardle retires from the role.

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