Mar 27, 2019

Sports Direct weighs £61m offer for department store Debenhams

Sports Direct said it was considering a £61.4m takeover approach for Debenhams, the latest twist in a long-running saga over the future of the struggling retailer. The shares had already risen sharply the previous day after Sports Direct said it was considering making an offer. Sports Direct said it would "Assist Debenhams in addressing its immediate funding requirements" and that the offer would be contingent on Mike Ashley, Sports Direct's founder and chief executive, being appointed chief executive of Debenhams and terminating the noteholder consent solicitation process it announced on March 22. He has already offered to lend the company £150m, and to buy Magasin du Nord, the group's Danish department store operation, for at least £100m. Chris Wootton, Sports Direct's deputy chief financial officer, said that Debenhams' shareholders - of which Sports Direct is the biggest with a 29 per cent stake - were "Sick and tired of being ignored, cast aside and trampled underfoot" by the company's creditors. Neither the Sports Direct statement nor its letter mentioned the position of Debenhams' noteholders, who have the right to ask for repayment in full if there is a change of control at the company.

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