Sports Direct has sold its share in Debenhams

Sports Direct has sold its share in Debenhams

Sports Direct International, owned by Newcastle United football club owner Mike Ashley, has sold its 4.6% stake in UK retailer Debenhams just days after purchasing it.

In an announcement on Monday (13 January), the sporting goods retailer, which operates 400 stores across the UK, said it had purchased 56.8m shares in the group, worth around GBP46m (US$75.1m).

The purchase was made without the Debenhams board knowing. Sports Direct said it wanted to "explore options" at an operational level to work with Debenhams to "create value in the interests of both Sports Direct's and Debenhams' shareholders".

However, in a stock exchange filing this morning, Sports Direct said it had disposed of its stake and instead entered a 'put option' agreement to buy a 6.6% stake. This will activate should the Debenhams share price fall to a certain level.

The group said its maximum exposure under the option is limited to around GBP64m.

The firm reiterated that it remains committed to working together with Debenhams and is looking forward to meeting with its senior management team in the near future.