British retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has offered to buy cafe chain owner Patisserie Holdings out of administration to enlarge an empire stretching from department stores and sofa shops to lingerie. Sports Direct’s statement on Friday gave no details of its offer to buy the owner of cake specialist Patisserie Valerie, plunged into crisis in October after it uncovered accounting irregularities. Sports Direct was not immediately available to comment on its proposal, and Patisserie Holdings’s administrators, KPMG, declined to comment on the offer. Ashley, who also owns English Premier League football club Newcastle United, made his name building budget chain Sports Direct into Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer. He has more recently bought stakes in, or assets from, British retail businesses that have struggled to cope with challenges ranging from the rise of internet shopping to higher business property taxes and sluggish consumer spending.

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