Mike Ashley has almost a 30 per cent stake in struggling department store Debenhams after snapping up another chunk of shares.
The tycoon’s Sports Direct has increased its investment from just over 23 per cent stake to 29.7 per cent stake. Once Ashley passes 30 per cent stake he must launch a formal takeover bid.
Sports Direct said there was ‘huge value’ in forming a partnership.
Takeover target: Sports Direct has increased its investment in struggling High Street chain Debenhamsfrom just over 23 cent stake to 29.7 cent stake
Liam Rowley, its head of strategic investments, said there was potential to merge online operations and work together internationally.
‘We believe Sports Direct can complement Debenhams very well,’ he said.
Debenhams said: ‘Debenhams notes today’s announcement from Sports Direct, with whom we have an established and constructive relationship.
‘We continue to pursue our Debenhams Redesigned strategy, a key part of which is partnerships with other brands where there is an opportunity to improve the offer for customers.’
The strategy aims to boost online sales, revamp customers’ shopping experience and improve efficiency.
The store’s sales fell 2.6 cent stake over Christmas, prompting a profit warning which slashed its full-year expectations to between £55million and £65million.
Analysts had previously forecast £83million.