Sports Direct’s swoop for Findel has been rebuffed by the online listed group.

Findel’s board said the offer of 161 pence per share “significantly undervalues the group and its future prospects”.

Earlier this week Sport Direct’s stake in Findel rose above 30 per cent to 36.8 per cent, which – under the Takeover Code – required the company make a takeover bid.

The deal would have valued Findel at nearly £140m.

However Findel’s board said it “is unanimous in its rejection of the offer… and recommends that shareholders should take no action at this time”.

Findel is based in the Midlands and its main subsidiaries are Express Gifts – which sells clothing, greeting cards, gifts, home and garden items through its Studio and Ace catalogues and websites – and Findel Education.

A statement from Sports Direct read: “Sports Direct continues to recognise the value and quality of the Findel business, and sees the offer as an opportunity to give increased support to Findel to maximise the value of its existing business.

“The offer is as an effective way of expanding the commercial arrangements between Sports Direct and Findel, and giving Sports Direct increased exposure to the future growth of the Findel business.”

Findel reported revenues of £479m and a profit before tax of £22.1m for the year ended 30 March 2018.

Last year Sports Direct announced plans to debut eSports in some of its stores.