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.