Here’s the Biggest Winner of the Sports Authority Bankruptcy

June 28, 2016, 3:33 PM UTC
Dick's Sporting Goods Declines as Forecast Trails Estimates
Merchandise is displayed for sale at a Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. store in West Nyack, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. shares fell the most in more than a decade after weak sales of golfing and hunting gear crimped its profit forecast. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Craig Warga — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Few companies have come forth to buy Sports Authority’s stores as the retailer goes through the bankruptcy process.

That’s a good sign for Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), according to investment banking giant Goldman Sachs (GS) in a Monday note to clients. The bank is so convinced about the company’s upside, that it added Dick’s to its “Conviction Buy List”—a step above “Buy.”

Sports Authority first filed for bankruptcy in March, and later reported that it would have to close all 463 of its locations after it failed to find a bidder willing to keep the company running on a smaller scale. Sports Authority is now in the process of auctioning off its real estate—though it hasn’t drummed up much interest from retailers. On Friday, Reuters reported that Dick’s had submitted a bid for 17 of Sports Authority’s leases, while other companies have sought single locations.

That means Dick’s will no longer have to deal with its largest competitor, and will likely snap up much of the leftover market share.

“[Dick’s] is best positioned to benefit from store closures of its largest competitor, The Sports Authority,” a team of analysts led by Stephen Tanal wrote, setting a 12 month price target of $53 a share—29% above the stock’s current price.


The team pointed out Sports Authority and Dick’s are in direct competition with each other. For Dick’s, 37% of its stores are within 10 miles of at least one Sports Authority, while 63% of Sports Authority stores have at least one Dick’s store within 10 miles.

“We expect sharp acceleration in earnings growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, as Dick’s cycles an easy compare with the benefit of share gain from Sports Authority, and further acceleration in [the first three quarters of 2017], when ‘full run rate’ Sports Authority benefits compound margin gains from in-souring eCommerce next year,” the team wrote.

Investors should watch July 15 as a potential catalyst for shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Goldman noted. The outcome of Sports Authority’s bankruptcy process, June 29 auction and all, will be clear then.


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