Mike Ashley issues scathing rebuke after Debenhams sets out conditions for takeover deal

Debenhams has told billionaire Mike Ashley to agree a four-point plan to have any hope of achieving a last-gasp deal to take over the ailing department store group.

But as the retail tycoon on Sunday night accused the department store of “falsehoods and denials” – and suggested its board take lie-detector tests – the prospects for a tie-up are fading rapidly.
If a deal with Ashley’s Sports Direct is not hammered out it is likely that Debenhams’ creditors will on Monday night put the group into “pre-pack administration”, likely to result in the closure of 50 stores and the potential loss of thousands of jobs.
In such a deal, the 29% stake in Debenhams held by Ashley’s Sports Direct will become worthless.

On Friday, Ashley offered to underwrite a £150m rescue fundraising for Debenhams if the store chain agreed to make him chief executive.

But over the weekend, Debenhams set out four conditions that Ashley would have to meet before it would recommend that the store’s creditors extend their end-Monday deadline for a deal.
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