Sports Direct have taken the outrageous decision to take a shareholder to court because he asked to see the share register.

Rangers fan Mark Dingwall bought a single share in Sports Direct International and then requested a copy of their share register.  Their company secretary replied asking why he wanted the register and Dingwall explained:

Mr Cameron Olsen, The Company Secretary, Sports Direct International, Monday 16 February 2015

Dear Mr Olsen, Thank you for your letter of the 9th February requesting me to explain the purpose of my request to obtain the shareholders register. As you will be aware, Section 116 of the Companies Act enables a shareholder to request a copy of the company’s register of members where this constitutes a proper purpose. As a shareholder I am concerned over the bad publicity the company has been receiving over its use of zero hours contracts and the retail agreements in place with RIFC plc which have also caused a large amount of detrimental publicity which may damage the share price.

I wish to canvass my fellow shareholders as to whether they would be willing to support resolutions to end the use of zero hours contracts and to review the terms of the retail agreements with RIFC plc to ensure that these generate sales revenue that benefits shareholders; rather than the current agreements which whilst appearing to be favourable are generating low sales volumes due to the level of hostility amongst the public to what are viewed as unfair terms.

I look forward to receiving the register so that I can canvass my fellow shareholders to ensure that we are able to ensure that the business does not continue to be involved in contracts which damage the long term interests of shareholders.

Regarding the requested fee of £65, my understanding is that as a member of the company, under Section 116, that this information should be available for free. I have laid out the appropriate section below:

Section 116

Rights to inspect and require copies

(1) The register and the index of members’ names must be open to the

inspection— .

(a) of any member of the company without charge, and .

If my understanding is incorrect, or the company feels this is too great a financial encumbrance, then I will, of course, send a cheque subject to your advice.

I would prefer the copy of the register to be in electronic form.

Yours sincerely,

MARK DINGWALL

That very same day the Sport Direct lawyers made an application to the Companies Court in London seeking the following –

1/  That the Claimant shall not comply with the request of Mr Mark Dingwall by letter dated 3 February 2015 for a a copy of the Claimant’s register of members.

2/  That they “shall not comply with any future request (whether made by Mark Dingwall or any other person) to inspect the Claimant’s register of members or for a copy of that register where the only purpose given for the request is to enable members to be contacted, without identifying the subject matter and purpose of such contact:

3/  Mark Dingwall do pay the Claimant’s costs, such costs to be assessed if not agreed.

The hearing is set for 11.30 on 14th April.

Mark Dingwall writes:

‘I can understand a company not wishing to hand out it’s share register willy-nilly but the principle is that sensible shareholders dis-satisfied with the performance of a company should be able to seek out other shareholders and canvass their opinions.  In my original request I undertook not to share the register with anyone else and not to contact the shareholders regarding anything other than the company’s affairs. 

By moving to strike out my request; and specifically to set the precedent that neither I nor any other shareholder can in the future obtain a copy of the register; Sports Direct are seeking to remove one vital right whereby shareholders can seek to enforce their rights by lobbying other investors in the company.

I have had some free advice so far but with the 14th April looming I think engaging a lawyer would be the sensible way to go.  FF.com exists on a hand to mouth basis – we have no rich and mysterious backers nor plentiful sources of income.  If we can settle outside of court or are otherwise  successful then the balance will, of course, be donated to charitable causes after consultation with the donors.’

If you can help then make a donation to the fighting fund via Paypal – http://tinyurl.com/FF-SDLegal

“Special


  • LeazesEnder

    I see the price of Sp**ts D*rec* shares have dropped 2% today

  • terriertwo

    LeazesEnder That means the price of his tat will have to go up. Or maybe he will have to sell one of the players to compensate for the shortfall. Tight fat git.

  • toontom68

    When you thought he couldnt be any more of a tosspot,he manages it with ease.
    The man is evil.

  • stepaylor

    this is exactly the kind of thing that would move the fat man on from NUFC too. Anything that effects his share price and it is for sure the way forward. Well done that man

  • magpie9

    The fat git thinks his money & his bully boy lackies can do what they want. I hope he falls flat on his face

  • footsecretdiary

    ChiOnwurah NUFCTheMag they won’t sink so low as to buy sunderland

  • 70lphk0cs46

    footsecretdiary You’re today’s _Gift Patrol_ pick from the city of Sunderland. Claim here UK_ClaimPage

  • dannycavanagh

    ChiOnwurah NUFCTheMag MartinSLewis this is what happens when you question zero hour contracts .

  • LeazesEnder

    terriertwo LeazesEnder Or wait for it to go up again.

  • Jail for Ashley

    I have tried donating, there’s a problem with the link

  • wivawova

    The draft order (if that is what it is) is badly drafted.
    What it ought to be requesting is an ability not to have to comply with the law in these particular circumstances.  What they have asked for seems to be on order that specifically prevents them from being able to comply in future – even if they wanted to.
    Further, it doesn’t stop Mr Dingwall from resubmitting a request – just so long as he sets out the purpose and subject matter.  It appears that he has actually notified the Claimant of both, but this information wasn’t in the original request, and may not have been received by the time that the application was submitted to the court. Therefore, it would be sensible, I would have thought for Mr. Dingwall to send in a second request, so that if his opponents wish to try and have that matter dealt with at the same time while they are already before a judge, that they could try to do so.

  • wivawova

    Part 2
    However, there seem to be no grounds submitted for this action. Is there a statement/affidavit that explains why the application has been made that isn’t set out here? Without one, particularly given the subsequent correspondence, it does look very much as if this is a waste of the courts time – and would become more so if a second application (with matter/purpose included) was submitted.
    The Claimants don’t seem to have suggested that the original request could be withdrawn/replaced, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that looks remotely like a letter before action. That would, I would have thought, be treated as unreasonable. However, the only thing that looks entirely unreasonable here is the attempt to obtain £65 – which looks like an atempt to obtain money illegally, and probably falls within the present ambit of “attempted fraud”.
    Sorry for being boring here, but I am boring like this for a living…………
    – See more at: //www.themag.co.uk/2015/03/sports-direct-take-legal-action-against-shareholder-who-asked-to-see-share-register/#sthash.0Lhh3SGi.dpuf

  • stepaylor

    10 men outside of every store all day saturday with dogs keeping traffic out of the store. Will effect his share price. Only slight impact on sales overall but the press would cover it and it would see shares price slide.

  • stepaylor

    unless his goal is to take his percentage down as much as possible while maintaining control. Once he has pocketed as much as possible from share sales then drop his own share price and then buy all the shares back at a lower price. Master stroke taking the company private again

  • stepaylor

    you see rumours have a dramatic effect on share valuations