According to the Sunday Times, JD’s board were due to confirm whether they were going to go through with the acquisition by the end of last week (27 November) but decided to let its period of exclusivity expire without a deal agreed.
The paper said JD’s chairman, Peter Cowgill, is conscious that the country could again go into lockdown at the start of next year and is wary any acquisition could take away from its sportswear offering.
Last week, reports emerged JD had entered into talks with advisors regarding a deal which would see the sportswear company take full control of Debenhams.
According to the Telegraph, the retailer is interested in purchasing the entire department store shop estate, but is not looking to convert the outlets into JD Sport branches.
Insiders reportedly told the outlet that a deal is not yet guaranteed, but it is thought that if an agreement cannot be reached, specialist restructuring firm Hilco will be appointed to sell off stock and wind down the business.
The business first entered the race to acquire the store earlier this month, according to The Telegraph, when reports surfaced that it had been granted access to the Debenham’s finances in a secure data room.
One source close to its finances, cited by the paper, said that Debenhams has managed to retain “some valuable assets” including its online business and a number of its concessions, however.
Debenhams, which currently employs 12,000 people across 124 stores, fell into administration for a second time this year in April.