Mike Ashley tables bid for Hertfordshire retail park

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Sports Direct's Mike Ashley tables bid for Brookfield Shopping Park in Hertfordshire
Mike Ashley's ambitions to grow his Sports Direct empire shows no sign of abating after he made a bid for Brookfield Shopping Park in Hertfordshire. (Image: John Salmon/Commons)
// Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley tables bid for Brookfield Shopping Park in Hertfordshire
// He reportedly made a £28m bid – lower than the £45m asking price & 1/3 of what the current owners paid
// Mike Ashley has acquired retail parks before as a tactic to showcase Sports Direct’s stable of retailers

Mike Ashley’s ambitions to grow his Sports Direct retail empire shows no sign of abating after he reportedly tabled a bid for a retail park in Hertfordshire.

According to Estates Gazette, Ashley has made a bid of around £28 million for Brookfield Shopping Park, a 90,000sq ft precinct in Cheshunt.

However, the retail park’s asking price is around £45 million and Ashley’s bid is a third of what current owners JP Morgan Asset Management paid when it acquired it four years ago.

Brookfield Shopping Park is up for sale because RBS, which financed the original acquisition via a £62.2 million loan, has urged JP Morgan to sell it.

Current tenants at the retail park that could potentially have Ashley as their landlord in the near future include Next, Boots and Sports Direct’s biggest rival, JD Sports.

There is also an Outfit store, a fascia owned by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, but it’s likely to close as part of a major CVA.

The news comes after 90.9 per cent of Sports Direct’s shareholders voted in favour of Ashley’s re-election as a director of the company at the company’s AGM on Wednesday.

Sports Direct is also currently pleading with the Big 4 accountant firms to pitch for the retail group’s audit contract after Grant Thornton quit after 11 years in the wake of a €674 million (£605 million) Belgian tax bill that was revealed in the retail company’s full-year results.

Ashley has acquired retail parks before as a tactic to showcase Sports Direct’s stable of retailers.

In the last 15 months, Sports Direct has taken over a number of retailers including House of Fraser, Evans Cycles, Game Digital, Sofa.com and, most recently, Jack Wills.

He has also had offers turned down, most notably HMV and Debenhams.

Alongside Brookfield Retail Park, Ashley is also reportedly a suitor for Links of London, having tabled a bid for the struggling jewellery chain earlier this week.

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