Court hears Ashley wants to ‘eliminate’ Debenhams as rival

Mike Ashley

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley wants to “eliminate a competitor” by backing a legal challenge to Debenhams’ CVA, the High Court heard.

The embattled department store chain won approval from landlords and creditors for its CVA earlier this year, but a challenge to the procedure was brought by landlords Combined Property Control Group (CPC) which opened in the High Court yesterday.

CPC’s challenge to the Debenhams CVA is being funded by Sports Direct, Mike Ashley’s retail group which was previously the largest shareholder in the department store.

On the first day of the hearing, Debenhams’ barrister, Tom Smith QC, said the department store retailer believed Sports Direct was funding the challenge because it “wants to drive its principal competitor out of business,” according to the Press Association.

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