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Sports Direct slams shareholders over Mike Ashley bonus

Sports Direct has criticised its shareholders for withdrawing support over a bonus scheme for Mike Ashley, saying it could lead to “further uncertainty” for the company.

The sportswear giant, which today published a trading update ahead of its year end on April 27, noted that performance was strong, with group sales up 10.3% to £360m for the nine weeks to March 30, while group profit rose 11.5% to £147m.

Sports retail sales grew 11% to £293.3m, with profits up 14.9% to £120.4, while premium lifestyle sales climbed just 0.7% to £27.1m, with profits flat. Brands turnover rose 12.8% to £39.6m, but profits were also level with last year.

The company said it expects to reach its EBITDA target of £310m, before the employee bonus scheme is deducted.

But chief executive Dave Forsey used the opportunity to note that the board was “extremely disappointed” by the failure to back its recommended bonus scheme for Ashley.

“The most disappointing aspect was where large shareholders gave their support only to then vote differently. This outcome is likely to lead to further uncertainty in the future,” he said.

At the start of the month, Sports Direct was forced to cancel an investor meeting that had been called to vote on a new bonus scheme that would gift Ashley 8 million shares, worth around £72m.

A week later, Ashley sold £217m worth of shares.

The group’s preliminary results will be announced on July 17.

Readers' comments (2)

  • i think shareholders were stupid to go against Ashley

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  • Mike will win the day in the end - you never know he might just buy it all back and take it private again!!

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