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Sports Direct makes a further push for Debenhams control

Sports Direct has stepped up its efforts to take control of department store chain Debenhams by offering it an interest free loan of £150m.

The loan is conditional on Debenhams issuing shares so Sports Direct can raise its stake from just below 30% to 35%, without it following normal takeover rules and having to launch a full takeover bid.

Sports Direct has already called a general meeting with the aim of removing all but one of Debenhams’ directors and making Mike Ashley chief executive.

Debenhams is trying to secure a £150m loan from its existing lenders, after borrowing £40m recently. Sports Direct has criticised the chain for the cost of that loan and says it will charge 3% if its demand for more shares is rejected.