Mar 13, 2019

Sports Direct accuses Debenhams of ‘misleading’ investors

Sports Direct has accused the directors of Debenhams of "Deliberately misleading" investors and said it had reported the department store group, in which it holds a 29 per cent stake, to the UK financial regulator. The night before Debenhams issued a statement earlier this month withdrawing its profit guidance for the current year, Sports Direct sent a letter to the company in which it questioned the company's commitment to transparency and said it was "Forwarding the letter to the  . . . to give our views and put on record our concerns". Sports Direct had received an advance copy of the Debenhams statement. In its letter to Debenhams, it said that a previous trading statement issued on January 10, in which Debenhams said that additional cost savings had helped compensate for difficult trading "Was at best impossibly optimistic or at worst deliberately misleading". Last week, Sports Direct's chief executive Mike Ashley requested a shareholder meeting to dismiss the entire board of Debenhams with the exception of finance director Rachel Osborne, and install himself as chief executive.

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