Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley and restructuring firm Hilco have lost their bids to buy Irish sports chain Elverys to a management buyout.

The management buyout team was led by managing director Patrick Rowland and backed by corporate finance firm CapNua and AIB.

At one point there were six parties bidding for the retailer, including Hilco and Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley through his Irish partner Heatons. In February, Ashley flew to Ireland to personally strike a deal.

Rowland is expected to retain the 700-strong workforce and the majority of the retailer’s 56 stores, according to the Irish Independent.

It is a second attempt at a management buyout of Elverys after the first fell through in February, which led to an examiner being appointed to the retailer.

Elverys’ owners, the Mayo brothers and John and James Staunton, had put the business up for sale as part of a wider restructuring of debts owed to NAMA.