Aug 17, 2018

Mike Ashley’s House of Fraser punt reflects wider Sports Direct strategy

Sports Direct's swoop on House of Fraser last week shocked many in the retail industry. Mike Ashley, who started Sports Direct with a single store in 1982, has always liked a bargain. The company says investments are aimed at facilitating cooperation and joint ventures, such as the Belong e-gaming partnership with Game Digital, in which Sports Direct owns a 26 per cent stake. Last year, Sports Direct wrote down the value of its 11 per cent stake in unlisted House of Fraser ; that equity was also wiped out when the business was pushed into administration ahead of a sale. Dunlop, which made the plimsoles used by generations of British schoolchildren in their sports lessons, was sold to Japan's Sumitomo in 2016, generating a profit on disposal of £80m. Over the past two fiscal years, Sports Direct recorded profits of almost £300m on sales of its shares in rival retailer JD Sports.

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