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Standard Life sells stake in Sports Direct

Sports Direct has reportedly lost its largest independent investor, Standard Life, following concerns over its corporate governance.

Standard Life has sold its entire 5.8% stake in the business, The Guardian reports. Fellow investor Aviva is said to have sold down its stake.

Both have previously voiced concerns about the retailer’s corporate governance, including the dominance of its CEO and majority shareholder Mike Ashley, excessive pay rewards, and poor treatment of workers at its warehouse in Shirebrook.

Sports Direct’s annual report shows it has already taken steps to address some of the issues raised. For example, it is launching a health and wellbeing service for staff.

The retailer has faced tough times over recent months and in July revealed underlying profit before tax fell by 59% to £113.7m in the 53 weeks to 30 April. This was blamed largely on the devaluation of sterling against the US dollar. 

Sports Direct declined to comment on the reports. 

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