FILE PHOTO: A new Debenhams department store is seen in a shopping centre in Watford, Britain, September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct, the British sportswear firm controlled by Mike Ashley, said it is considering an offer for Debenhams which values the ailing department store group at 61.4 million pounds ($80.9 million).

Sports Direct, which last year bought department store chain House of Fraser out of administration, has a near 30 percent stake in Debenhams and has been trying to wrest control of it for months.

The terms of the possible offer would be 5 pence a share in cash – a premium of 127 percent to Debenhams’ closing share price on Tuesday of 2.2 pence, which valued the firm at 27 million pounds. Shares in Debenhams surged 59 percent to 3.56 pence at 0815 GMT.

Sports Direct added it would also assist Debenhams in addressing its immediate funding requirements.

The proposal is conditional upon Debenhams immediately appointing Ashley as its chief executive and terminating the noteholder consent solicitation process it announced last week.

That process is seeking agreement from bondholders to change the terms of some of their bonds so that Debenhams can secure new loans of up to 200 million pounds from existing lenders.

Reporting by James Davey, editing by Louise Heavens


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