The founders of JD Sports have shared £44.6 million after agreeing to sell their stakes and quit the high-street chain brand.
John Wardle and David Makin are disposing of their combined 45 per cent shareholding to clothing-maker Pentland Group in a move that values the company they founded in 1981 at £99.8 million.
City takeover rules mean Pentland - the owner of brands such as Speedo and Kickers - must offer all investors in John David Group the acquisition price of 221.2p a share as they now own more than 30 per cent of the company.
But analysts said few investors were likely to sell out as the offer represents an 8.6 per cent discount to the share price of John David on Tuesday.
Pentland, which first became a shareholder in John David when it acquired an 11 per cent stake from Mr Wardle in August, stressed it had bought the founders' shares as an investment and had no plans to take the company private.
Although Mr Wardle and Mr Makin will resign from the board, Pentland said it wanted all the remaining directors to stay with the Bury, Lancashire-based group.
London-based Pentland has been run by the Rubin family since 1932 and employs 2,000 people globally, including at offices in Italy, Australia, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
It made pretax profits of £20 million in 2001.
Chairman Stephen Rubin said: "JD is a business that we know well, run by a management team in which we have every confidence.
"It is positioned in a fastgrowing segment of the UK retail industry and we are delighted by this opportunity to become a substantial, long term and supportive shareholder."
In response to the offer from Pentland's Manchester Square Enterprises investment vehicle, the board of John David said it would be taking independent advice before advising investors on what to do with their shares.
Details emerged as John David said pretax profits lifted 25 per cent to £2.6 million in the 52 weeks to January 29 as it regained some of its poise following a shock 80 per cent plunge in profits in the previous year.
Like-for-like sales were 4.7 per cent higher during the year and have continued to improve, albeit at the slower rate of 2.4 per cent in the 13 weeks to April 30.
Peter Cowgill, who took over as chairman in March last year, said the company had made " considerable progress" with net debt reduced by more than £20 million to a year-end mark of £30.8 million.
JD Sports' shares closed at 2181/2p down 121/2p.