Sports Direct International, the British parent company of the eponymous sports retail chain and other properties including Karrimor, has agreed in principle with creditors that it will purchase Eastern Outfitters, the American company that owns 86 stores operating as Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and Bob's Stores, instead of going through a bankruptcy auction. SDI is seeking permission to close 21 Bob's stores and 27 EMS stores, but it has agreed to guarantee payment of stub rental fees to landlords for the remaining locations and to take over $42 million in secondary debt from Versa, the company that bought Eastern Outfitters in bankruptcy proceedings last year. The North Face and other unsecured creditors, who will get little in the process, will have time until April 12 to file any objections before a final court hearing scheduled on April 19 to finalize the deal. We would like to mention the fact that many years ago SDI was interested in taking over JD Sports Fashion and its Blacks and Millets outdoor stores in the U.K., but lost its bid for control to Pentland Group.