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Blacks poised to seek deadline for Ashley bid

Blacks Leisure, the outdoor specialist is likely to ask the Takeover Panel to issue a ‘put up or shut up’ notice to tycoon Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct following the latter’s disclosure that it is considering a takeover of its rival.

Sources told The Independent newspaper that the request was “the next logical step” for Blacks, which was forced to change fundraising plans after Sports Direct acquired a blocking stake and said it might stage a bid for the business.

Blacks, which last year struck a company voluntary arrangement in order to stave off collapse, has developed modified plans that would still allow it to raise £20m in order to accelerate its recovery programme despite its competitor’s stakeholding.

Ashley previously made an indicative offer to buy Blacks at the beginning of 2009, but a bid never materialised.

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