Mike Ashley ‘wants Debenhams execs to take lie detector tests’
Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is calling for Debenhams execs to take polygraphs to reveal a “sustained programme of falsehoods and denials” over his bid for the department store chain.
Ashley says senior Debenhams employees are not being honest about meetings surrounding Sports Direct’s takeover plans.
This morning the sportswear giant repeated its offer of a £150 million cash injection to save Debenhams. In return, Ashley is asking to be appointed chief executive and for £148 million of existing debt to be written off.
But relations between the two firms appear extremely strained. In a statement last night, Sports Direct said: “Misrepresentations were made to induce Sports Direct into signing a non-disclosure agreement, locking them out of any ability to trade in the bonds or equity of Debenhams for a period of time.”
Ashley already owns nearly 30 per cent of Debenhams, and has called for an investigation into the firm’s management.
It is understood that Sports Direct has until 22 April to make a firm bid for Debenhams. If the company does not do so, or if Debenhams turns the offer down, it is expected that the chain will enter administration.