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Sports Direct to buy back shares

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley plans to buy back a further 5% of shares in the troubled sports business, renewing speculation that he could take it private next year.

Sports Direct said it is seeking shareholder approval for the buyback in a meeting next month, which would increase Ashley's stake in the business to more than 72%.

The meeting is due to take place on December 19, the same day Sports Direct is expected to post its half year results.

Ashley made £929 million when he floated Sports Direct in February but shares have since tumbled by 69%, following three profits warnings.

Last week, the company issued a profit warning claiming replica football shirt sales would be hit after England failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 tournament.

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