Sports Direct entrepreneur Mike Ashley is understood to be poised to buy UK bicycle retailer Evans Cycles for £35m acquisition. Sunday Telegraph. Financial Times

Ashley hopes to fit the Evans Cycles brand alongside other sports retailers in his stable, such as hiking retailer Karrimor and Lillywhites sports shop.

The 31-store chain attracted the attention of several first-round bidders when it effectively put itself up for sale in February. The early signs were that private equity firm Gresham was the most likely successful bidder, while rival retailer Halfords also in the running.

A growing national appetite for city cycling and tax breaks for commuter cycle purchases have prompted Evans to seek to expand outside London and the south-east, where is only has seven stores. The company has already identified new store locations.