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Mike Ashley's Sports Direct divests stake in MySale fashion site

[LONDON] Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International Plc sold its stake in MySale Group Plc after the Australian fashion website withdrew from the UK market, another setback for the billionaire UK retailer.

The sports retailer sold its 4.8 per cent holding for an undisclosed amount, according to a regulatory filing. MySale shares began selling at 229 pence (S$4) in June 2014, which would have valued the Sports Direct stake at about 15 million pounds then. While the company didn't disclose the price it sold the shares for, MySale closed Monday at 7 pence.

MySale is another losing bet for Ashley after the wipeout of his investment in the troubled Debenhams UK department store chain that was taken over by lenders and de-listed earlier this year. Ashley called the Debenhams episode a "national scandal."

MySale was founded in Sydney in 2007 by brothers Carl and Jamie Jackson as a "flash sale" website that offered surplus fashion and beauty for thousands of brands. At the time of the IPO, two of MySale's key investors were Ashley's Sports Direct and Philip Green, the billionaire behind the Arcadia retail empire.

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Earlier this month, MySale said it had sold its main UK website to rival BrandAlley to better focus on its core markets in Australia and New Zealand. The retailer said that its business continues to be challenging.