Belfast Telegraph

Shares sale backfires on Ashley

by Graeme Evans

The value of Mike Ashley's stake in Sports Direct took a £300m hammering following a surprise move to sell some of his shares.

The FTSE 100 company slumped by 10% after Mr Ashley raised £204m in a sale on Monday that reduced his stake from 61.7% to 57.7%.

The disposal came just days after a shareholder revolt forced the company to scrap a scheme that could have rewarded the Newcastle United owner with a shares windfall worth potentially more than £70m.

The deputy executive chairman has not received a salary or bonus since the retailer floated in 2007.

Mr Ashley sold the shares to institutional investors at 850p, compared with a recent high of 924.5p earlier this month.

The move spooked the City, causing the stock to fall to around 800p and valuing it at nearly £4.8bn.

Mr Ashley recently snapped up a 11% stake in House of Fraser as part of attempts to muscle in at the last minute on the sale of the department store chain to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower.

Belfast Telegraph