The British are coming—maybe.
Sports Direct, the UK’s biggest sportswear retailer, is in talks with Modell’s about a joint bid for as many as 200 Sports Authority stores, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal Monday.
The news came as the bankrupt sporting goods retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 in March and sold its inventory to a trio of liquidators last month, gears up to auction its store leases on Thursday.
Sources told the Journal the talks between Sports Direct and Modell’s are ongoing and could fall through before the auction. Analysts had previously speculated that Dick’s Sporting Goods—which Sports Direct has a 2.3% stake in—would snap up between 80 and 180 of Sport Authority’s leases.
“We are proceeding cautiously at this stage in advance of the bid deadline because we have heard lots of rumors before,” Ivan Gold, a San Francisco lawyer who represents a number of landlords in the retailer’s bankruptcy, told the Journal.
Going-out-of-business sales are well underway at Sports Authority’s 450 locations across the U.S. and several active apparel and footwear brands have factored the closure into their financial outlook. Under Armour, for one, recently revised its guidance down from $5 billion in net revenue to $4.925 billion, and cited Sports Authority’s demise as the main reason.