© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: New Debenhams department store is seen in a shopping centre in Watford

LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct (LON:) said on Monday it had offered to underwrite a 150 million pound ($196 million) rights issue at Debenhams in exchange for its boss Mike Ashley taking the top job at the ailing retailer.

Sports Direct, which has been trying to wrest control of Debenhams for months, said it wanted Ashley to be named chief executive of Debenhams, and for the retailer’s lenders to write off 148 million pounds of its debt.

Sports Direct said it was also considering its options after it made a 61 million pound offer for Debenhams at the end of March. The group has until April 22 to either make a firm offer or walk away.

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