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Sports Direct mergers and acquisitions boss departs

Jeff Blue, a senior director charged with leading mergers and acquisitions for Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, has left the company.

The former Merrill Lynch banker, who was hired two years ago to help carry out deals and look after investor relations, left in December, according to The Times. He was also standing in as finance director for Bob Mellors, who had to retire through ill-health and has not yet been replaced.

It is understood that he decided not to renew his two-year contract at the retailer, which has hit the headlines in the past year for taking put options on Tesco and Debenhams.

Blue spearheaded the flotations of Debenhams and Sports Direct in 2007, while at Merrill Lynch.

After leaving the investment bank he joined Baugur, the Icelandic investment group, as head of retail with a portfolio including stakes in House of Fraser, Hamleys and Woolworths.

Blue has been involved in Sports Direct’s purchases of majority stakes in retailers including Austrian chain EAG and Sportland International Group, according to the newspaper. He has also played a key role in Sports Direct’s put option on Debenhams last year.

A spokesman for the company confirmed to The Times: “Jeff is employed by Sports Direct until the end of March.”

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