Debenhams’ major shareholder: Mike Ashley will have to pay up

Debenhams store closures

The fifth largest shareholder in Debenhams has said Mike Ashley will need to pay a lot more than Debenhams’ share price if he wants to buy the retailer.

Speaking to This Is Money, Martin Walker said he believes Debenhams is worth a lot more than what it is currently trading for, and that the shares could soon be on the rise.

“I haven’t heard what Mike Ashley’s strategy is, but I wouldn’t sell the shares at this point. If he wants it, he can have it, but he’s going to have to get his chequebook out and pay up,” said Walker.

“He may own nearly 30 per cent, but Debenhams has an independent board and Sir Ian Cheshire, the chairman, is no one’s lap dog”, he added.

Debenhams’ share price rose 25 per cent in the wake of Ashley’s acquisition of House of Fraser in a pre-pack deal for £90 million, as rumours emerged that both Ashley and Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s Philip Day are eyeing the department store.

Walker added that he will not hand over shares to Ashley at their current price, and that the retail tycoon will need to pay a lot more than the 13p a share mark.

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