Sports Direct’s Irish partner, Heatons, is in talks to acquire Elverys, the oldest sports chain in the Republic of Ireland.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, who has a stake in Heatons, flew to Ireland at the weekend to attempt to personally strike a deal, The Guardian reported.

The 55-store chain was on the verge of being sold in a pre-pack receivership deal to a management buyout team backed by Irish financial firm Capnua, with David Carson of Deloitte lined up to be appointed receiver.

It is understood that Ashley has offered to pay €2.5m more than the €10m offered by Elverys’ management.

Elverys rival Lifestyle Sports is also understood to be in talks over the acquisition.

Discussions over Elverys’ future are ongoing.