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Mike Ashley’s BHS bid still hangs in balance

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley’s bid for a package of BHS stores and the right to use its name still hangs in the balance, while another unnamed retailer is vying for a number of stores, a source close to the situation has told Drapers.

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

The deadline for final bids was last Wednesday and Ashley’s still requires some negotiation but a decision could be made within the next 24 to 48 hours, said a source.

Ashley is understood to be interested in buying up to 80 of BHS’s 163 stores.

A property source suggested that discounters including B&M, Poundland and Poundworld would take some of the BHS stores, while Primark and some food retailers have also shown interest.

The stores will continue to trade as discussions continue, although many stores have launched closing down Sales with signage in the windows.

Ashley believed he had secured a deal to buy the stricken chain in April following a meeting with Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green and administrator Duff & Phelps, he said in evidence submitted to the business, innovation and skills committee last week.

“Our understanding when we left the meeting was that we had an agreed deal, which was to be executed on May 13 2016,” he said.

However, Duff & Phelps announced on June 2 that the BHS business would be wound down after it failed to find a buyer with enough working capital to secure its future.

Duff & Phelps declined to comment, and Sports Direct had not yet responded to Drapers’ request for comment.

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