Sports Direct, the largest shareholder in a British home shopping company, is eyeing a bid for six million extra shares in the firm.

It must now make a cash offer for the remaining Findel shares at a price of 161p, valuing the online retail business at almost £140 million.

Sports Direct International plc has been an investor in the company since 2015, and has acquired 6,000,000 Findel shares at a price of 161 pence per share from City Financial Absolute Equity Fund.

Founder Mike Ashley is the majority owner and has been a major shareholder in Findel since September 2015.

Sports Direct has said it intends to work closely with Findel to expand their existing commercial arrangements for the benefit of both companies.

It said it had no intention to make changes to Findel’s business or the employment of Findel’s staff and management.

Sport Direct’s stake in Findel has risen above 30 per cent to 36.8 per cent, which - under the Takeover Code – requires the company make a takeover bid.

The company expects the acquisition to settle on March 6, 2019 and following the acquisition Sports Direct will, in aggregate, hold 31,850,000 Findel shares.

In its statement to the Stock Exchange, the retailer said: "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."

Last year the company announced plans to debut esports in some of its Sports Direct stores.