Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is reported to be considering a bid for Debenhams Ireland through Heatons, the Irish department store chain he controls.
Ashley is already a minor shareholder of Debenhams in the UK and is mulling taking advantage of the financial difficulties of its Irish arm to bolster operations in the country, according to the Sunday Business Post.
Debenhams’ Irish business has appointed Kieran Wallace, partner at KPMG Ireland, as interim examiner in May to provide court protection while negotiations with landlords and suppliers are carried out. The retailer made a loss of €6.7m (£5.2m) in the last financial year to August 29 2015.
Debenhams has 11 stores in Ireland, including four in Dublin, two in Cork and one each in Galway, Limerick, Tralee, Waterford and Newbridge, and all will remain open during the examinership, which can last up to 11 days. It is not know yet if any stores will close.