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JD Sports Responds To Media Reports Of Chairman's Meeting With Footasylum Executive

British retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc (JD.L), which is buying smaller rival Footasylum, on Monday issued a response to a The Sunday Times' report about the meeting between its executive chairman Peter Cowgill and Footasylum's Barry Bown.

The newspaper reported that the executives were filmed sitting together on the morning of July 5.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority or CMA reportedly has launched an investigation over car park meeting of a possible breach of its rules relating to the company's takeover of Footasylum.

In its response, JD Sports said that Cowgill has known Bown on a business and personal basis for over 25 years, and that it is not unusual, or in any way suspicious or illegitimate, for them to meet from time to time.

The company said this included in relation to the ongoing review by the CMA of JD's acquisition of Footasylum.

JD Sports said the newspaper omitted to report on the positive obligation that the company has under the terms of the Interim Enforcement Order to take all reasonable steps to encourage key staff of the Footasylum business, which includes Bown, to remain with the business.

According to the company, the CMA has already been fully apprised of the content of the meeting on July 5 and the reasons for it.

JD said it firmly believes that its actions in participating in this meeting do not amount to wrongdoing or a breach of the Order and does not see how it would be reasonable to accuse JD of such.

The company said, "It is disappointing that the Sunday Times has not reported in a more balanced way on the highly irregular and potentially illegal covert surveillance undertaken by a third party for their own interests. JD hopes that a regulator, tasked with acting in the wider public interest, is able to more critically regard the actions of the third party for what they are."

In London, JD Sports shares were trading at 1,099.60 pence, down 1.91 percent.

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