Mar 11, 2019

Debenhams and Mike Ashley race to win hearts and minds

Perhaps none feel as strongly as the majority of shareholders, bondholders, and managers at Debenhams, where Mr Ashley - who has a 29 per cent equity stake - is attempting a boardroom coup. On Monday, Debenhams said it was in "Advanced" talks over a £150m refinancing - just days after Mr Ashley sought an emergency meeting to install himself as chief executive. Mr Ashley was essentially admitting he wanted control of Debenhams without buying a controlling stake - because that would make him liable to repay debtholders. In responding with news of its own debt plan, Debenhams was in effect acknowledging it is in a race for hearts and minds, as well as cash. New chairman Terry Duddy will need to keep telling them what he thinks of Mike Ashley - and hope that they change their minds, and agree.

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