Sports Direct, which has a near 30 percent stake in Debenhams, said on Wednesday it was considering a 61.4 million pounds offer for the company.
The proposal was conditional on Ashley immediately being installed as Debenhams' chief executive.
Another condition was that the department store group terminate a process seeking agreement from bondholders to change the terms of their bonds so that it could press ahead with securing 200 million pounds of extra funds from lenders and pursue restructuring options.
Debenhams warned last week that those options would give lenders more control over the retailer and some of them could result in no equity value for its current shareholders.
Debenhams pressed ahead with seeking agreement from bondholders and said on Thursday that they had backed its plan.
Shares in Debenhams were down 6.6 percent at 2 pence at 0952 GMT, valuing the equity at 24 million pounds. As of Jan. 10 the firm had committed debt facilities of 520 million pounds.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Keith Weir)