Mar 2, 2018

Sports Direct lifts Debenhams stake to almost 30%

Sports Direct has increased its stake in Debenhams to just under the threshold at which it would be required to make a formal takeover offer, lifting shares in the struggling department store chain. Debenhams said in a regulatory filing on Friday that Sports Direct had lifted its direct shareholding in the company from 21 per cent to 27.6 per cent. Together with rights held through various options contracts, the sports retailer now holds 29.7 per cent of voting rights in Debenhams. Liam Rowley, Sports Direct's head of strategic investments, said "We see huge value for both companies in a strategic partnership between Debenhams and Sports Direct". Debenhams previously opened Sports Direct concessions in nine of its high street stores, though the company's chairman later said "Standard" concessions are "Probably not the right opportunity" for us, and more than half of the stores were due to close by this spring.

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