Newcastle United businessman and owner Mike Ashley failed to open an investigation into the financial affairs of struggling department store chain Debenhams.
Representing lawyers Mr. Ashley’s Frasers Group, which owns nearly a third of Debenhams’ shares, asked a judge to appoint an “interim liquidator” to open an investigation.
But judge Mark Mullen, who considered the request in a remote hearing at the corporate and insolvency court on Wednesday, refused.
The judge said that neither the other shareholders nor the creditors of Debenhams were aware of the request.
He said he would reconsider the matter at another hearing in the near future, but said he wanted the request to be “known”.
Debenhams has been in administration since April, for the second time in about 12 months.
Justice Mullen said the Frasers group had issued a liquidation petition.
No decision has been made on whether to grant this liquidation petition.
The judge said the appointment of a “provisional liquidator” was not urgent as there was no evidence to suggest that Debenhams’ assets or documents needed to be secured because they were in danger.
A lawyer representing Frasers Group had argued that a provisional liquidator should be appointed.
Barry Isaacs QC told the judge how Debenhams had borrowed around £ 40 million last year – but the Frasers group’s loan offers had been turned down.
The judge said that the Frasers group had identified these “transitional facilities” as “suspicious”.
Frasers Group was known as Sports Direct International and the bosses announced a new brand image in late 2019.
In late March, Mr. Ashley found himself apologizing for a series of errors in his company’s management of the coronavirus epidemic.
He has been heavily criticized by MPs for emails to the government because the country has been locked out, in which the company claimed that Sports Direct was essential to keeping the nation active.
He then moved to defend his position in a new correspondence before backing down and closing stores.
Ashley issued an open letter expressing regret, but also offered to use the company’s fleet of trucks to the NHS for the delivery of supplies to fight COVID-19.