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Uncertainty for King's Lynn workers as Debenhams rejects rescue bid



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Debenhams has today rejected a rescue package proposed by its biggest shareholder, Sports Direct
Debenhams has today rejected a rescue package proposed by its biggest shareholder, Sports Direct

Workers in Lynn are facing an uncertain future this evening after bosses of retail giant Debenhams rejected a £150 million rescue bid.

The move means the company, which has a branch on Lynn's High Street, is now expected to go into administration, potentially as early as this week.

The chain has been locked in negotiations over recent weeks with Sports Direct over a rescue package which would see the controversial tycoon Mike Ashley installed as chief executive.

His bid would also see £150 million pumped into the coffers of the ailing firm, which warned earlier this year that it may be forced to close stores, having previously indicated it was facing financial challenges.

However, the deal was thrown into doubt at the weekend after Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United Football Club, launched a stinging attack on Debenhams bosses, including a suggestion they should take lie detector tests.

The decision of Debenhams' board to reject the offer was confirmed in a statement this afternoon.

Sports Direct said it was "disappointed" by the decision and warned there was likely to be a "significant and negative impact on Debenhams' current shareholders and other stakeholders, including suppliers and employees" if the board did not engage in talks.

Sports Direct has previously indicated it may make a bid to take full control of Debenhams, of which it is already the biggest shareholder. It has until April 22 to decide whether to do so.



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