Mike Ashley In Shock U-Turn
The maverick nature of Mike Ashley’s style in business, both at Newcastle United and wider afield, is perfectly summed up by his latest shock move.
At the fourth attempt, Ashley had managed to force through a bonus package that would see him pick up the lion’s share of a near £200m bundle of bonus shares, if Sports Direct hit various targets.
Three previous attempts had been blocked by minority shareholders and this latest successful one was also met with vigorous opposition but Ashley at last managed to get it over the line with a 60% vote in his favour, this despite he and his board refusing to reveal what proportion of the circa £200m he would be entitled to.
This morning though comes an amazing u-turn with Sports Direct announcing that Ashley has pulled out of this latest bonus scheme and he is reported to have told his board, that he does not expect any other share based incentives to be proposed to shareholders while this current one is in place, which runs up to Spring 2019.
The Sports Direct Chairman Keith Hellawell has pointed to ‘unhelpful speculation’ being a major factor in the decision;
“Following the recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he (Mike Ashley) is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available to the eligible employees.
“The resolution passed by shareholders to implement the 2015 bonus share scheme clearly recognises the success of previous company wide schemes and the significant contribution from Mike.”
Sports Direct are due to report their full year results on Thursday.
As always, Mike Ashley does nothing without good reason, so now we all await to see what seismic shift will occur elsewhere, as the Newcastle United owner continues his pursuit of business domination.
It would be amusing if Ashley had all of the Sports Direct adverts painted over at St.James’ Park as some form of protest against those shareholders at SD who have made life difficult for him…though in the crazy world we live in, by doing that it would only mean millions and millions of free publicity for Ashley and SD as the media would fall over themselves to cover that story.
Or something even more radical, such as Sports Direct actually being charged for the overwhelming advertising they get free, courtesy of Newcastle United.
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