Mike Ashley has reportedly launched a bid for former rival Dave Whelan’s collapsed sports chain DW Sports.

Ashley is understood to have launched a bid of over £30m for the collapsed chain, which fell into administration early this month putting 1,700 jobs at risk.

The chain appointed BDO as administrators and was reportedly seeking bids of around £20m to resurrect the chain, according to The Sunday Times.

DW Sports comprises 73 gyms and 75 stores but only 42 of its gyms and 44 of its shops are still operating as a result of the administration. Sister firm Fitness First, also owned by the Whelans, is not affected by this administration.

If Ashley were to snap up DW Sports, it would be the latest move in a rivalry between himself and Whelan which spans decades.

Whelan, who founded the now-bust JJB Sports, reportedly told Ashley in 2000 that “there is a club in the north, son, and you’re not part of it”. Ashley went on to expose price fixing on football shirts which implicated firms including Whelan’s JJB and resulted in multi-million pound fines from the Office of Fair Trading.

The Sunday Times reported that the Whelan family were considering buying DW Sports out of administration, but a source close to the situation said: “If they thought they were going to get an easy deal, they won’t now, because they’ve got competition.”

This would be the latest in a series of acquisitions by Ashley’s Frasers Group including Evans Cycles, Jack Wills and House of Fraser.