JD Sports in exclusive talks with Debenhams over takeover

Debenhams gift cards expire as Mike Ashley considers empty stores
Speculation mounts over whether Mike Ashley will place an offer on a portion of Debenhams' stores.
// JD Sports reportedly in further discussions over Debenhams acquisition
// Executive chairman Peter Cowgill is believed to have his eye on Debenhams’ website
// News comes after Mike Ashley withdrew from list of bidders to acquire Debenhams

JD Sports is reportedly engaged in exclusive discussions with Debenhams over a deal to rescue the entire business from administration, according to The Times.

It’s understood that the sportswear retailer is interested in acquiring all of Debenhams’ business, which would include 12,000 staff and 124 shops.

The Times reported that JD Sports has begun exclusive talks with the beleaguered department store’s adviser Lazard and administrators at FRP Advisory.

READ MORE: Mike Ashley drops out of Debenhams sale

Sources cited by The Times said talks could still falter.

Earlier this month it was reported by The Telegraph that JD Sports was examining Debenhams’ finances in a secure data room, and has been granted increased access in the last fortnight.

JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill is said to be interested in the offer thanks to Debenhams’ incredibly popular website, and the fact a deal would mean acquiring relatively cheap property on the high street across the UK.

If a deal were to go ahead, it would mean another blow for Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, who made an offer of £125 million for Debenhams.

Ashley dropped out of the running at the start of the month after failing to meet the £300 million asking price for the retailer.

Should Debenhams’ administrators fail to find a buyer, the historic retailer could still fall into liquidation.

Next and Marks & Spencer are also understood to be interested in buying some shops from the struggling chain but not the whole company, while online retailer The Hut Group has made an offer to buy Debenhams’ website.

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