Is Debenhams’ future in Bedford safe in Mike Ashley’s hands?

The Bedford store is set to close

While it remains unclear if the Bedford store is to close, the financial woes of the Debenhams chain have been well documented, with the company confirming that 20 stores throughout the UK will close this year.

Today it emerged that Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is considering a £61.4m bid to take full control of Debenhams.

Mike Ashley already owns House of Fraser, following its acquisition in 2018.

Debenhams has resisted Mr Ashley’s takeover attempts. Sports Direct is Debenhams’ biggest shareholder, owning nearly 30% of the business. Mike Ashley is a majority shareholder in Sports Direct.

According to the BBC News website, “The department store chain is currently trying to raise up to £200m from existing lenders.

“Under that deal shareholders, including Sports Direct, could see the value of their investments all but wiped-out.

“Abandoning that refinancing deal would be a condition of a Sports Direct offer. Debenhams would also not be able to go into administration or insolvency.”

Regardless of an Ashley take-over of the ailing chain, the future of a Debenhams in Bedford is yet to be decided.

With the company remaining tight-lipped about which stores they may close if they continue with their plans to reduce their ‘bricks and mortar’ stores.

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