Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has raised its stake in Debenhams to over 16 percent. The sports apparel chain revealed an interest in Debenhams more than three years ago.

The BBC reported Sunday that regulatory filings showed that Sports Direct has increased its stake in the department store’s chain from 13.38 percent to 16.09 percent.

This time Sports Direct has not directly bought Debenhams’ shares but got options in stock, which gives them it a right to buy shares at a future date. Mike Ashley’s firm will also holds contracts for differences, according to financial media in the UK.

Sports Direct has 420 UK stores and owns several brands including Dunlop, Slazenger, Everlast and Karrimor.

It was taken public by Ashley in February 2007 and is a member of the FTSE 250, after falling out favour from bigger FTSE 100.

 

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