A twist at Go Sport. Hermione People & Brands (HPB), parent company of the sporting goods brand, placed in receivership in January, announced the dismissal of Patrick Puy, in a letter dated Wednesday March 8. Mr. Puy was appointed head of Groupe Go Sport on January 4 to “pursue its necessary transformation” by HPB, a subsidiary of Financière immobilière bordelaise (FIB) founded by businessman Michel Ohayon. His appointment was then dubbed by Bercy. Four months after the closure of Camaïeu, another brand owned by the FIB, and the dismissal of its 2,100 employees, the Ministry of Economy and Finance was concerned about the fate of Go Sport, a company which had benefited from 55 million euros in loans guaranteed by the State in 2020 and 2021, and the fate of its 2,160 employees.
In an internal memo addressed to employees of the brand, Thursday, March 9, Mr. Puy says he is leaving his post ” with regret “ adding that his “Mission is almost complete”. Asked by The world on the reasons for this revocation, the management of HPB did not wish to comment.
However, this departure is not a real surprise. Clearly, HPB has been going through a serious governance crisis since the dismissal of its chairman, Wilhelm Hubner, and the collapse of Michel Ohayon’s empire in the distribution, real estate and hotel sectors. Before the Grenoble Commercial Court, meeting on Wednesday 1er March to decide on the receivership of GAP, the management had revealed that it had dismissed Mr. Puy from his position at the head of the chain of 20 stores in great financial difficulty that Go Sport had bought for 38 million euros in December 2022. She demanded to stay. It was ultimately the Public Prosecutor’s Office which declared GAP’s insolvency and requested the opening of receivership proceedings.
The effect of a bomb
In Sassenage (Isère), at the headquarters of Go Sport, the announcement of Mr. Puy’s departure had the effect of a bomb. Because it literally comes on the eve of the deadline for submitting takeover bids for the brand, which operates 223 stores and employs 2,160 employees: candidates have until Friday March 10, midnight, to do so. “I am convinced that good takeover offers will be submitted in a few hours”assures Mr. Puy, in his letter, without however revealing the identity of the possible candidates.
Obviously, only part of the employees will be maintained in the company. And the Go Sport brand is likely to disappear “under other banners”, according to the leader’s note. Two candidates – Frasers and JD Sports – would be very interested in the file. They are two British specialists in the distribution of sporting goods. Frasers, a group listed in The City, is a retail giant founded by billionaire Mike Ashley. Its sales reached 5.2 billion euros, particularly under the Sport Direct brand; it employs 25,000 people. At the head of a turnover of 9.6 billion euros and 3,400 stores worldwide, JD Sports is even bigger. Both operate in France.
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