ENGLEWOOD, CO-Shareholders of the Sports Authority Inc. on Tuesday approved the company’s sale to an investor group led by Southern California-based Leonard Green & Partners, LP. The sale, which amounts to $1.3 billion, will take the company private.

In January, the Sports Authority board of directors unanimously approved the merger, leaving the final vote up to stockholders. During the initial announcement, chairman and CEO Doug Morton commented that “as a private company, Sports Authority will have greater flexibility to accomplish its long-term goals.”

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Sports Authority stockholders will receive $37.25 in cash for each share of Sports Authority common stock held. Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor for Sports Authority in connection with the merger transaction, while Banc of America Securities LLC advised Leonard Green & Partners. Bank of America N.A. and TCW/Crescent Mezzanine have provided commitments for the debt portion of the financing.

As of April 29, 2006, the Sports Authority operated 402 stores in 45 states under the Sports Authority and Gart Sports names. Leonard Green & Partners is a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in organizing, structuring and sponsoring management buy-outs, going-private transactions and recapitalizations of established public and private companies.

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