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Mike Ashley outbid in the race for Debenhams Ireland

By Vivian Hendriksz

30 Jun 2016

London - Billionaire Mike Ashley is said to have have been outbid in the race for Debenhams Ireland, as Debenhams Group is believed to be the preferred bidder to acquire its Irish business out of examinership.

Ashley, who is said to have been the only other "serious contender" for the business, owns a 10.5 percent stake in the Debenhams Group. The entrepreneur and owner of Sports Direct has been busy expanding his retail presence in Ireland over the past few months. Earlier this year Sport Direct acquired Irish department store chain Heatons for 48 million euros, as well as the former Boyers store in Dublin for 12 million euros.

However, Ashley has been outbid for Debenhams Irish business by the department store's parent company, according to the Irish Independent. Debenhams 11 Irish stores were previously placed in examinership last month, under the supervision of Kieran Wallace from KPMG, putting 2,000 jobs at risk.

The examinership uncovered animosity between the Irish business and the Roche family, which owns a number of the stores Debenhams operates in Ireland. Richard Roche accused Debenhams of filing a "tainted" examinership application which is based on an "incomplete and inaccurate" snapshot of its finances as the Irish business of Debenham seeks to secure rent and other cost reductions to ensure its viability.

Photo: Debenhams Ireland, Facebook