Reports had suggested the Sports Direct boss could block Debenhams attempt to raise cash through the £250m deal, in order to buy the store cheaply.
In a statement Sports Direct said the claims are “irresponsible and incorrect”, and the company had discussed “various opportunities for business collaborations to support Debenhams over the last year or so”, but added Debenhams had “chosen not to move forward with these proposals, as is their right”.
The statement said: “We have been made aware of articles in the Sunday Times today and some consequential media speculation regarding Sports Direct and Debenhams. We want to clarify that we have not been formally approached by Debenhams with details of any offer for Magasin du Nord. We would of course consider any such approach on its merits at the time.
“We do not want to see Debenhams fall into administration, and any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible and incorrect. As a significant shareholder we would be immediately financially disadvantaged if that were to be the case – quite apart from concern for employees and suppliers.
“To the contrary we have been strongly encouraging the chairman, Ian Cheshire, that Debenhams should cut the dividend entirely and manage cash more prudently for sometime. Indeed Sports Direct has discussed various opportunities for business collaborations to support Debenhams over the last year or so, but the management/board of Debenhams have chosen not to move forward with these proposals, as is their right.”
Earlier in the week Sports Direct was forced confirm that it did not currently intend to make an offer for the business for six months, despite currently owning almost 30% of the business.