Debenhams issued a very short statement on Monday saying that it was in talks on its financing needs. But it spoke volumes in terms of the retailer’s determination to rebuff attempts by Mike Ashley to take control.
News that Sports Direct chief Mike Ashley wants to oust the Debenhams board to run the department store himself shook UK retail late Thursday and the Debenhams response on Friday means it could turn into a big fight.
Mike Ashley is calling for the Debenhams board to be replaced and for a seat at the top table plus an executive role. If he gets his way, he'll step down from running Sports Direct to focus on the department store chain.
Debenhams has secured a temporary cash injection to tide it over while talks go on and it also has a new own-brand sourcing deal with Li & Fung that should help it respond faster to trends with better quality product.
There was a huge upset at Debenhams on Thursday as a major shareholder lost patience with its top two execs. The result is that its chairman stepped down after the AGM and the CEO has been voted off the board.