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Sports Direct raises stake in Debenhams to more than 16%

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has raised its stake in department store chain Debenhams.

The maverick billionaire's firm has upped its interest in Debenhams stock from 13.38% to 16.09%.

Sports Direct has built its position through a combination of share options and contracts for differences.

The Newcastle United owner has a history of building up positions in rival retailers, having previously bought stakes in French Connection, JD Sports and privately-owned House of Fraser.

Sports Direct snapped up an 11% stake in French Connection, raising fresh questions over the chain's future.

Mr Ashley made his share raid in February after fund manager Schroders dumped a 9% stake, with Mr Ashley acquiring an additional 2% on the open market.

As well as running around 400 stores across the UK, the Sports Direct group has a presence in Europe through stores in Austria and the Baltic states while Debenhams has more than 240 outlets worldwide.

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