October 1, 2018 / 6:32 PM / 8 months ago

Sports Direct dismisses House of Fraser senior management

FILE PHOTO: A woman leaves a House of Fraser store in Bristol, Britain, August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

(Reuters) - Sports Direct (SPD.L), controlled by tycoon Mike Ashley, dismissed the former directors and senior management of House of Fraser on Monday, weeks after the British sportswear retailer snapped up the department store group from its administrators.

Sports Direct bought House of Fraser’s 58 UK stores, its brand and all its stock in August for 90 million pounds ($115 million). But it did not take on responsibility for the retailer’s historic pension obligations.

Billionaire Ashley, who also owns English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United, has been calling for an investigation into the cause of the collapse, according to press reports.

“Following the collapse of House of Fraser on August 10 2018, and subsequent calls for an investigation into the circumstances of that collapse, the Company today announces that we have dismissed the former Directors and senior management of House of Fraser,” Sports Direct said in a brief statement, without giving any further details.

There have also been media reports of landlords refusing to agree on the terms that would allow the stores to remain open.

Last month, Sports Direct officially ruled out a takeover bid for Debenhams DEB.L after an outgoing director said the board had discussed combining the department store group with House of Fraser. Sports Direct owns a 29.7 percent stake in Debenhams.

Analysts have speculated that Ashley might want to put the two department store groups together.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft and Mark Potter

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