Aug 17, 2019

Sports Direct minority shareholder shows faith in Ashley

Sports Direct's largest minority shareholder has increased its stake in the controversial company, highlighting the shift in its investor base towards those who back Mike Ashley, its maverick founder and chief executive. "They matter. If you're a Nike executive in the US and it flashes up on your screen that Sports Direct has delayed its results and lost its auditor, you're going think: this is a tinpot company." One executive at an asset management group described the recent delay to the publication of Sports Direct's accounts as "Outrageous". Referring to the receipt of a demand from Belgian tax authorities for more than £600m in disputed VAT, interest and penalties, the executive added: "To have that kind of scale of cloud hanging over the business shows there is no internal or external financial control over the company." Sports Direct declined to comment but Mr Ashley has repeatedly denied any intention to take the business private.

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