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Debenhams closes in on £150m credit line

Debenhams is in advanced negotiations to secure a £150m lifeline from its current lenders, as it calls on the competition watchdog to intervene in an attempted boardroom coup by Mike Ashley. 

In February the department store chain, which is understood to have debts of more than £500m, secured a £40m cash injection after extending its credit facilities with lenders in a bid to put the business on a more stable footing.

The company is now understood to be weeks away from a deal with its lenders for a further £150m. Debenhams confirmed £40m of these facilities will refinance the £40m bridge facility announced on 12 February. 

Meanwhile, it is also understood that Debenhams has raised concerns with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after Sports Direct called for a general meeting of Debenhams to appoint Ashley to the board of directors last week, the Guardian reported.

Ashley already holds a 27.9% stake in Debenhams. The CMA declined to comment. 

Sports Direct has called for all current members of the Debenhams board, other than Rachel Osborne, who became a director in September 2018, to be removed.

Sports Direct said Ashley would step down from his current roles as a director and chief executive of of the sportswear retailer if he were appointed to the Debenhams board. He would be replaced by Chris Wootton, currently Sports Direct’s deputy chief financial officer, who would take up the role of acting chief executive.

Drapers has contacted Sports Direct for comment. 

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