Lifestyle Sports has been bought by Stafford Holdings, an Irish family owned company. The price tag was not disclosed but is believed to be in the region of €40m.

Lifestyle Sports, the country's largest retailer of branded sportswear, was the subject of a management buyout from Tesco in 1997. It recorded sales of €145m in the year to October 2005. The company employs about 900 people in 71 locations nationwide, nine of which were opened in the last 12 months.

Before the acquisition, Lifestyle Sports was owned by a combination of seven directors and the venture capital company, ACT.

Stafford Holdings is mainly involved in the oil and solid fuel sector with additional business interests in hotel, property and port services.

The company said this latest acquisition is in line with its stated strategy of seeking acquisition opportunities in new sectors which offer strong growth potential, while maintaining a strong commitment to its current portfolio of businesses.

Mark Stafford, Group Chief Executive of Stafford Holdings Ltd and incoming Chairman of Lifestyle Sports commented on the rationale behind the acquisition: .

'Lifestyle Sports is a successful company in a growth sector, it has a strong brand and a market leading position,' commented Mark Stafford, Group CEO.
'The prospects for further growth are excellent given its inherent attributes and, as such, it is an ideal diversification vehicle for Stafford Holdings,' he added.

Stafford Holdings is headquartered in Dublin and employs over 350 people. It owns a number of companies including Glenview Hotel, Campus Oil, Stafford Fuels, Aztec Properties and Stafford Shipping.