Sports Direct's Debenhams stake increases... again
Mike Ashley’s interest in Debenhams is now heading towards 13.5% with news that the Sports Direct Group that he controls has raised its interest in the retailer again.
Debenhams said Friday that Sports Direct’s interest now adds up to 13.38%. That includes a 2.88% holding via contracts for differences (CFDs), and a put option regarding a 10.5% stake. That put option is effectively a bet that Debenhams’ share price will rise.
Earlier this week Sports Direct’s stake tipped just over 11% intensifying speculation around Ashley’s intentions towards the department stores retailer.
Sports Direct has previously said it wants nothing more than to be a a supportive investor and to help add value for both its own shareholders and for those of the department stores chain Debenhams.
But with the Sports Direct business having struggled to find growth and Ashley having a well-publicised interest in moving more upmarket both organically and by acquisition, Debenhams could be a takeover target. Ashley, or businesses with which he is associated, currently own or have major interests in Flannels and Agent Provocateur, as well as having bought a significant stake in French Connection.
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