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High Street

91% of Sports Direct shareholders re-elect Mike Ashley

Over 90% of Sports Direct’s shareholders have voted in favour of founder Mike Ashley’s re-election as a director of the company.

A statement from the group’s AGM on Wednesday (11 September) said that 90.99% of votes cast were in favour of re-electing Ashley, with just over 9% voting against it. 

His re-election as director despite reports of a shareholder backlash after two proxy advisers recommended investors vote to remove Ashley from the board. 

Ashley’s re-election comes after the sportswear group acquired a number of retailers in the last 15 months, including House of Fraser, Evans Cycles, Game Digital, Sofa.com and Jack Wills.

Sports Direct has weathered a difficult period, after its profits dropped by 9% last year, following a €674m (£602m) tax bill from Belgian authorities, which saw auditor Grant Thornton resign. 

Ashley told Sky News after the AGM: “Yes I agree that they have a point. The last three months can’t have been very comfortable for them – you’ve got a £600m Belgian tax investigation, you’ve got accountants not seeking re-election – that’s a little bit too much for most shareholders to take.”

A Sports Direct spokesperson added: “We remain totally focused on delivering our elevated proposition which following the AGM continues to be supported by the investor community.”

The AGM comes after the group was listed as one of the two final bidders for jewellery chain Links of London.

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