Sports Direct further increases stake in Debenhams

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Sports Direct has raised its stake in Debenhams once again, fueling speculation over Mike Ashley’s interest in the retailer.

The sportswear brand upped its stake in the department store chain from 16.09 per cent to 17.08 per cent today, with Ashley stating he wished to be a “supportive stakeholder”.

This follows a push for stock last month when Ashley raised his stake from 13.38 per cent.

The billionaire has been incrementally upping his stake at Debenhams since 2014.

READ MORE: Sports Direct ups stake in Debenhams

Despite speculation he could be poised for a takeover, few expect the billionaire to do so.

Sports Direct has gained a reputation for buying stakes in rival retailers, as it did with JD Sports, House of Fraser and most recently the embattled French Connection and Agent Provocateur chains.

The retailer’s apparent investment drive comes amid falling stock values as Sport’s Direct continues to try to shake off accusations of poor corporate governance practices.

This was exacerbated last week as the retailer’s only female director Claire Jenkins announced her resignation, with many reports suggesting her frustration at her lack of influence as the reason.

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