Owner of Sports Direct Mike Ashley has threatened to close all 17 of his stores in Intu Properties' shopping centres, after the landlord refused to accept Ashley’s terms on four House of Fraser locations, The Sunday Times reported.

If Ashley goes through with the threat, 17 stores - consisting of Sports Direct, House of Fraser (HoF), Flannels, USC and Evans Cycles stores - will be shut when leases reach a break clause or expire.

Ashley told the The Sunday Times that this latest development in their struggling rent agreement talks could cost more than 25 million pounds a year in lost rent and service charges. “Intu has demonstrated it is unwilling to help retailers save stores and jobs,” he told the newspaper. “It is unrealistic for Intu to continue to enjoy a long-term relationship with our retail businesses.”

This latest development comes just a week after news broke that Ashley would be closing for more House of Fraser stores - Lakeside, Metrocentre, Norwich and Nottingham - after he failed to reach rental agreements with Intu.

Intu is also currently awaiting confirmation of a 2.8 billion pounds takeover bid from a consortium led by its deputy chairman - and largest shareholder - John Whittaker.

The deadline for the bid is currently set for 30 November, but has been extended three times so far.


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