Debenhams is seeking a £200m funding lifeline from existing lenders which would allow it to launch a drastic refinancing plan. Mike Ashley responded with an offer to buy its Danish business for £100m in cash.
Sports Direct International on Thursday urged Debenhams board again to hold a general meeting to appoint the sportswear retailer's owner, Mike Ashley, to the board and remove nearly all the current directors.
It may seem like Mike Ashley has enough on his hands at the moment, between running House of Fraser, his Debenhams ambitions, and the other chains he has acquired. But it seems he's also interested in buying LK Bennett.
Newspapers suggest a pre-pack administration filing is an option for Debenhams while Mike Ashley continues to fight for a role at the company and an investment firm holding 5% of the shares has sold its stake.
Sports Direct said on Wednesday it offered Debenhams an interest-free loan in return for a further 5 percent stake, just as the department store was close to securing funds to fend off a bid from Sports Direct's founder.
Debenhams issued a very short statement on Monday saying that it was in talks on its financing needs. But it spoke volumes in terms of the retailer’s determination to rebuff attempts by Mike Ashley to take control.
News that Sports Direct chief Mike Ashley wants to oust the Debenhams board to run the department store himself shook UK retail late Thursday and the Debenhams response on Friday means it could turn into a big fight.
Mike Ashley is calling for the Debenhams board to be replaced and for a seat at the top table plus an executive role. If he gets his way, he'll step down from running Sports Direct to focus on the department store chain.