Sports Direct acquired shares in department store group Debenhams last week and might have paid more than they are worth.

Sports Direct, controlled by tycoon Mike Ashley, was committed through an options contract to acquiring Debenhams shares, the Financial Times reported.

Sports Direct is committed to buying 10.5 per cent of Debenhams’ shares in 10 transactions during October and November, the newspaper said.

The price of the Debenhams shares was agreed more than two years ago and has not been made public. However, Sports Direct said in 2015 that it might end up having to pay more than the market price for the shares when the options matured.

Sports Direct’s maximum exposure, net of fees, was £85m.

That equates to 65.9p per share, which is 43% more than Debenhams shares were trading for on Friday, which the FT said suggested that “Sports Direct could be paying £25m more for its stake than the £59m it is now worth”.

The news came following last week’s announcement by Sports Direct that it has recruited a head of strategic investments.

Liam Rowley, the former equity research analyst who was appointed to the role, will review all the retailer’s stakes in other businesses.

Sports Direct has stakes in a wide variety of retailers, ranging from entertainment specialist Game to department store group Debenhams and fashion retailer French Connection.

Typically investments have been made in retailers that Ashley believes could in some way provide his business with complementary opportunities or new channels to market.

Sports Direct opened concessions in Debenhams stores – a venture that has since been scaled back.