Sports Direct owner Ashley puts money on Debenhams success

Catherine Neilan
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THE FOUNDER of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, has sold his 4.6 per cent stake in Debenhams and entered into a put option worth 6.1 per cent.

The deal was conducted through Sports Direct, and required the business to dispose of the Debenhams stake that it built upon last month, adding a further £33m worth of shares.

The put option means that if Debenhams’ share price goes below the exercise price, or strike price, at the point when the option expires, Sports Direct will lose out. If it goes up, Sports Direct gets a premium and has no further obligations. The strike price has not been revealed.

Sports Direct’s exposure to the department store has now increased to 12.7 per cent.

Ashley has bought a string of stakes in retailers and other companies in recent months, including a similar bet on Tesco shares. He is also the owner of Newcastle United football club.

Debenhams’ share price moved up by 3.58 per cent yesterday, while Sports Direct’s failed to move at all.