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Debenhams in Chatham, Ashford, Gravesend, Folkestone, Canterbury and Westwood Cross could be under threat

A high street giant is set to go into administration this week after rejecting a £150 million cash injection from Sports Direct.

Debenhams has been at the centre of an increasingly bitter move by Sports Direct chief Mike Ashley to take over as CEO.

But this afternoon the retailer confirmed it had rejected the proposal by Ashley's firm to underwrite a £150m equity issuance to help prop up the struggling chain.

It is not clear what the future holds for Debenhams' Kent stores
It is not clear what the future holds for Debenhams' Kent stores

The firm currently has outlets in Ashford, Gravesend, Folkestone, Canterbury, Westwood Cross and Chatham.

It means the store is likely to go into what is known as a pre-pack administration process which means shareholders would see their holdings become worthless.

That will include the 29% stake held by the Sports Direct boss and which is thought to have cost him around £150m.

Sports Direct is still pondering a takeover by share purchase of the retailer
Sports Direct is still pondering a takeover by share purchase of the retailer

It will effectively put the firm's creditors in control of what happens now.

If it takes that route, it will then implement a store closure programme as outlined previously.

It is not known which stores will be impacted by any closures as yet.

Debenhams is likely to go into administration this week
Debenhams is likely to go into administration this week

In a statement, Sports Direct said it was "disappointed" in the retailers' decision. But called on the board and its lenders to "actively engage in negotiations".

The struggling giant has been locked in talks over recent weeks with Sports Direct over a rescue package which would see Mike Ashley installed as Debenhams' CEO and £150m pumped into the ailing firm's coffers.

However, it has not ruled out making a takeover offer at 5p a share - the deadline on a decision for which is April 22.

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