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Mike Ashley expected to retain House of Fraser stake

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley is expected to retain his 11% stake in House of Fraser, following the completion of a sale of the remaining 89% of the business to a Chinese conglomerate yesterday.

The department store chain has now been officially sold to China’s Nanjing Cenbest, which is controlled by Sanpower Group, for £480m.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Ashley will hold on to his shares as a strategic investment and is working on a plan to sell some of his merchandise in House of Fraser department stores.

Ashley controls the minority stake in HoF through West Coast Capital, a subsidiary of the Sports Direct Group. He does not have a board seat or the power to influence board decisions, but his 11% stake is said to offer him “observing rights”, so he has access to the retailer’s financial information.

Nanjing Cenbest is said to have offered to acquire Ashley’s stake on the same terms as the rest of the acquisition but no deal was agreed.

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