Oct 29, 2017

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct buys stake in Debenhams 

Sports Direct, the retail empire controlled by its billionaire founder Mike Ashley, bought shares in rival retailer Debenhams on Monday - and apparently paid considerably more than they are worth. Sports Direct is committed to buying 10.5 per cent of Debenhams' shares in 10 transactions during October and November. Sports Direct warned in 2015 that it could be forced to pay more than the market price for Debenhams shares when the options matured. That is 43 per cent higher than Debenhams shares were trading on Friday, suggesting that Sports Direct could be paying £25m more for its stake than the £59m it is now worth. Because Sports Direct is acquiring shares to replace options contracts that are lapsing, the sportswear chain's economic exposure to Debenhams will remain unchanged, and Mr Bucher said he was looking forward to discussions with Mr Ashley.

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