Ash­ley buys prop­erty from Intu de­spite threat to with­draw from shop cen­tres

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Business -

MIKE Ash­ley has ac­quired a new prop­erty from Intu amid a pub­lic bust-up with the re­tail land­lord, it can be re­vealed.

The Press As­so­ci­a­tion un­der­stands that the re­tail bil­lion­aire has bought a long lease­hold on the for­mer BHS site in Derby from Intu as he threat­ens to with­draw 17 stores from the re­tail land­lord’s cen­tres.

It comes less than a month after Sports Direct took the lease on an 11,000 square foot store in Intu’s Merry Hill shopping cen­tre, where it will open a Flan­nels store.

Last week Mr Ash­ley vowed to close his stores in Intu build­ings after the company re­fused to ac­cept his pro­pos­als for rent re­duc­tions at four House of Fraser branches.

In­sid­ers say the track­suit ty­coon is try­ing to strong-arm land­lords into agree­ing favourable rental terms for the de­part­ment store chain, ask­ing in some cases to pay no rent at all.

Mr Ash­ley, pic­tured, claimed his boy­cott would cost Intu £25 mil­lion in rental in­come per year, though sources close to the company have said the fig­ure is closer to £4 mil­lion.

The Derby deal is part of a trio of prop­erty dis­pos­als for Intu which were an­nounced on Fri­day.

The company has also

sold free­holds at Bri­er­ley Hill, close to its Merry Hill shopping cen­tre, and York House in Not­ting­ham. The sale of the three prop­er­ties achieved a com­bined to­tal of £25.25 mil­lion.

The row with Mr Ash­ley comes at a sen­si­tive time for Intu. Its shares tanked on Thurs­day after suit­ors pulled a £2.8 bil­lion takeover bid.

Intu said mar­ket con­di­tions meant the con­sor­tium – led by John Whit­taker’s Peel Group – could not con­tinue with its pro­posed of­fer within the time­frame set out by City takeover rules.

Sports Direct could not be reached for com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.