Blacks Leisure, the struggling camping and sportswear retailer, is set for a head-on collision with Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct founder, after it appears to be preparing a sale of its Freespirit clothing chain for surfers and snowboarders. Sunday Telegraph. Financial Times

Ashley, who owns 29.3% of Blacks, last threatened to initiate a boardroom coup at the retailer unless it cancelled its possible sale of Freespirit, regarded by many as the jewel in its crown.

Blacks said that no decision on the sale had been made. However, it emerged that several potential Freespirit bidders were last week requested to sign confidentiality agreements prior to receiving information packs about the 35-store snowboarding and boardwear chain.