Debenhams set to consider Mike Ashley’s £150m loan offer


Debenhams has said it will “give careful consideration” to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct offer of a £150m loan.

Sports Direct, 61% owned by Mr Ashley, confirmed on Wednesday it had offered a loan to Debenhams as part of a deal which would make him chief executive.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sports Direct complained to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) accusing the Debenhams board of misleading investors.

Debenhams rejected the complaint as “unfounded and self-serving”.

The department store chain is in the process of arranging additional loans of £150m with lenders.

The alternative deal, proposed by Sports Direct, which applies “on or before 31 March 2019”, includes a £150m loan.

However, in return, Sports Direct wants to be issued with about 5% of new shares and Mike Ashley be made a director and chief executive of Debenhams.

If the deal conditions were approved by shareholders, the £150m loan would be interest-free, Sports Direct said.

But if the conditions were not approved, the loan would bear 3% interest.

Major shareholder

The department store chain said any such a loan would require the backing of current lenders and “material amendments” to existing facilities.

It added: “Nevertheless, the board will give careful consideration to the proposal and will engage with Sports Direct and other stakeholders regarding its feasibility in the interests of all parties.”

Sports Direct, a major Debenhams shareholder, is trying to remove all but one of the board members.

Along with fellow major shareholder Landmark Group it has already ousted Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher and chairman Sir Ian Cheshire from the board.

Sir Ian stepped down, while Mr Bucher remains in post.

Sports Direct wants to appoint Mr Ashley to run Debenhams.