Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Retail: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct acquires near-5% stake in Debenhams

11:18 13 January 2014

The Debenhams store on Oxford Street in London.

The Debenhams store on Oxford Street in London.

The sportswear empire of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has snapped up almost 5% of shares in department store Debenhams, it emerged today.

shares

Sports Direct International said the stock market purchase, worth around £46million, would allow the companies to consider ways to work together.

Debenhams, which issued a profits warning on New Year’s Eve after poor Christmas trading, said it was open-minded about the offer of exploring operational opportunities in order to improve its performance.

As well as 409 stores in the UK, Sports Direct has a portfolio of 28 internationally recognised sports, fashion and lifestyle brands including Dunlop, Slazenger, Everlast, Lonsdale and Karrimor.

Mr Ashley set up the business on leaving school in 1982 and was the sole owner until a stock market listing in March 2007 which netted him £929 million. He is executive deputy chairman but receives no payment.

The company, which has purchased 56.8 million shares in Debenhams, has a history of buying strategic stakes in other retailers, most recently JJB Sports. It is the current owner of a near 12% holding in rival JD Sports Fashion.

It said today: “Sports Direct wishes to explore options at an operational level to work together with Debenhams to create value in the interests of both Sports Direct’s and Debenhams’ shareholders.

“This acquisition of shares has taken place without the prior knowledge of the Debenhams board of directors, but Sports Direct has communicated to Debenhams’ board its desire to work together and its intention to be a supportive shareholder.”

Debenhams which has 240 stores in 29 countries. In the UK, where it has more than 150 stores, the chain has a top five market share in womenswear and menswear and a top 10 share in the market for childrenswear.

The company said: “Debenhams notes that Sports Direct intends to be a supportive shareholder and that it wishes to explore options at an operational level to work together.

“Debenhams is open-minded with regard to exploring operational opportunities to improve its performance, alongside its own existing and planned initiatives, in order to create value for all Debenhams shareholders.”

Debenhams’ shares rose 5% today, although Cantor Fitzgerald retail analyst Freddie George said today’s developments did not mean the company was “in play” from a takeover perspective.

Mr Ashley’s Sports Direct business is believed to have looked closely at acquiring House of Fraser in the last year.

shares

0 comments

Sizewell A and B

Staff at the redundant Sizewell A nuclear power station will have to wait to find out if their jobs are safe from planned redundancies.

The opening of Precision Marketing's new headquarters in Bury St Edmunds.

An expanding marketing services firm celebrated the official opening of its new head office in Bury St Edmunds yesterday.

Arlingtons new art exhibition, Liz and Ken Ambler at the launch

Music, art, wine and a great deal more

Steven and Debbie Morgan pictured when they took over The Royal Oak earlier this year

Firefighters were called to a pub last night following a water leak which caused flooding.

Abby Curtis who is opening Pump and Grind coffee shop in Great Colman Street with Tom Kerridge

The business team behind a new cafe have said they are disappointed they will not able to serve alcohol when opening for the first time on Saturday.

Rachel Pearlman, Zoe Bradbury, Jack Northcott and Jordan Keeble of Ginger Nut Media team  at the OXO Tower in London, after being awarded as the best level of support during Advanced Apprenticeships.

A digital advertising firm is celebrating after scooping an award for its supportive training regime.

Royal Mail has seen a rise in annual profits.

Royal Mail today reported a rise in underlying annual profits as a squeeze on costs helped offset a lower than expected performance from its parcel business.

Bury Council Building Angel Hill.

The new chairman of Bury Town Council has said he intends to make the authority relevant after claiming it has done “almost nothing” for the last few years.

Tesco  Group Chief Executive Dave Lewis

Tesco paid £4.1 million to new boss Dave Lewis in his first six months after he was brought in from consumer goods group Unilever to turn around the embattled supermarket.

A branch of cash and carry chain Booker

The country’s largest cash and carry chain is to buy Londis and Budgens in a £40million deal to boost its scale amid the ongoing supermarket price war.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages