Sports Direct said after market close on Monday it was considering making an offer to buy Debenhams to save the embattled department store chain.
Debenhams said given the “timetable associated with any public offer”, a bid from Sports Direct would not address its immediate financing needs.
It confirmed Sports Direct now has until 5pm on 22 April to announce a firm intention to make a bid or walk away, under City takeover rules.
The group added any proposal from Sports Direct must provide an indication of the offer price, a clear plan of how Debenhams’ existing debt will be repaid and how it would address the immediate funding needs.
It also acknowledged a new request from Sports Direct on 21 March calling for a shareholder meeting.
In its announcement late on Monday, Sports Direct said it was considering an offer outright to take over Debenhams as it claimed that the chain’s financing plans “would result in an adverse outcome” for existing shareholders.
Sports Direct had earlier hit out at Debenhams for rejecting an offer to buy the chain’s Danish business, Magasin du Nord, for £100 million – one of several offers it has made to put the department store chain on a more secure footing.