Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley has responded to bondholders backing Debenhams’ refinancing plan, claiming that “if there were any justice in the world, the majority of the advisers would be put in prison”.
On Friday 22 March, Debenhams launched a “consent solicitation for holders of Debenhams 5.25% senior notes due 2021” to raise £200m.
In a statement yesterday, Debenhams said the “majority” of bondholders “have provided consent to the amendments”. It said the money would allow it to enter into new funding facilities, and give it the ability to pursue restructuring options and secure its future.
Debenhams added that some of the changes would result in no equity value for the company’s current shareholders, which include the Sports Direct group.
Earlier this week, Ashley’s Sports Direct indicated that it would consider a possible cash offer of £61.4m for Debenhams. The offer was conditional on the appointment of Ashley as the department store chain’s CEO. Debenhams would also have had to agree not to enter any third-party funding arrangements, including an administration or company voluntary arrangement.
Ashley commented: “Now the results of the vote are known and we have also been subsequently advised that the supportive HSBC are no longer part of Debenhams’ RCF [revolving credit facility], I think that if there were any justice in the world the majority of the advisers would be put in prison.”