Mike Ashley Spars With Hedge Funds in Battle Over Debenhams Control

Billionaire Mike Ashley’s latest bid to control Debenhams Plc has sharpened battle lines with the troubled U.K. department-store chain’s lenders as it seeks to restructure its debt and avoid insolvency, Bloomberg News reported. Ashley, angling to add Debenhams’s roughly 240 U.K. and overseas stores to his empire that already includes Sports Direct International Plc and House of Fraser, has launched an effort he’s dubbed “Project Serpico” to expose what he says is an insider plot to steer the iconic company into the clutches of foreign hedge funds. He’s opposed by creditors that are lining up a fallback strategy to gain control of the department-store chain for themselves, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Read more