Mike Ashley, the founder of retailer Sports Direct International, has acquired an 11% stake in department store group House of Fraser.

A spokesperson for House of Fraser confirmed the transaction today (8 April) but declined to give further details on the deal. An announcement is expected later today.

According to Reuters, Ashley, who holds a 62% share in the sporting goods retailer, bought the stake from Scottish tycoon Tom Hunter.

The agreement comes days after reports emerged that Chinese conglomerate Sanpower is preparing to take an 89% stake in the department store retailer. A surprise bid by the firm last week is understood to value House of Fraser at more than GBP450m (US$749.2m).

The two companies are said to have been in secret talks for several months.