Mike Ashley is reportedly prepared to spend £100m to buy the Evans Cycles chain from Active Capital, who beat him to the £35m acquisition in 2008

Businessman Mike Ashley, founder of the Sports Direct chain, is just one of the names in the race to buy Evans Cycles, according the Telegraph.

Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United Football Club, is reportedly prepared to spend around £100m to purchase the cycle retailer from private equity group Active Capital.

The 50-year-old tycoon is keen to expand his Sports Direct brand into the cycling market, having failed to purchase Evans in 2008 when Active Capital bought it for £35m.

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According to the Telegraph, Halfords has also looked into buying Evans to capitalise on its relationships with key suppliers like Specialized and Trek, who refuse to supply Halfords.

But the paper reports that Halfords has “categorically ruled out” a move for their high street rivals with the company preferring to focus on building its Cycle Republic brand.

Ashley is not shy to splash his cash, recently investing £85m into ailing department store Debenhams after a long-term flirtation with buying Glasgow Rangers Football Club.