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Sports Direct denies Debenhams takeover bid

Sports Direct confirmed it does not intend to make an offer to acquire Debenhams, after a director admitted yesterday that merging it with House of Fraser had been discussed at board level.

The sportswear group made a formal statement stating that it does not plan to make an offer to acquire the entire issued and to-be-issued ordinary share capital of Debenhams for the next six months.

Following its AGM earlier in the day Simon Bentley, a non-executive director at Sports Direct, told journalists that merging the two chains had been discussed.

Sports Direct bought House of Fraser out of administration last month and owns just under a 30% stake in Debenhams.

Bentley said: “It’s been discussed, but you do think when you have the job of handling House of Fraser right now that you might have your hands full.”

Sports Direct said it does reserve the right to make or participate in an offer for Debenhams in several circumstances, including gaining the agreement or recommendation of the board of directors of Debenhams or if there is a firm offer from another party.

At the AGM it was also confirmed that Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell is stepping down from his role after nine years.

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