Controversial sports tycoon Mike Ashley and Lion Capital are amongst the interested parties for Blacks Leisure, it is understood.

The retailer announced earlier today that it has received preliminary bids for the business.

Lion Capital also has investments in lingerie retailer La Senza and AS Adventure Group which runs Cotswold Outdoors and could be a good fit alongside Blacks leisure and outdoor offer.

Ashley, who runs rival sports chain Sports Direct, owns a 29.4 per cent stake in Blacks.