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Sports Direct raises $1.82B in IPO

LONDON --Sports Direct International PLC, the U.K.'s largest sporting-goods retailer, raised 929 million pounds (US$1.82 billion; euro1.4 billion) in an initial public offering after owner Mike Ashley sold a 43 percent stake in the business.

Ashley sold the shares for 300 pence (US$5.89; euro4.47) each, giving the company a market value of 2.16 billion pounds (US$4.24 billion; euro3.2 billion). The sale price was at the top end of the forecast range.

Chief Executive Dave Forsey said the company had been well received during roadshows in Britain, continental Europe and the United States.

"We have enjoyed telling investors about the success of Sports Direct and are delighted that so many of them have chosen to take part in the offer," Forsey said.

The proceeds received by Ashley could rise to 1.1 billion pounds (US$2.2 billion; euro1.6 billion) if he exercises an option to sell more shares.

Ashley, 42, founded Sports Direct in 1982 and has taken its Sports World brand from third place in the U.K. sportswear market to top spot in the space of three years.

The business owns 465 stores under the names Sports World, Original Shoe Company and Lillywhites. Other brands owned by the business include Donnay, Kangol and Karrimor.

The stock was little changed at 300.25 pence (US$5.89; euro4.47) in London on Tuesday, when conditional trading began.