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After Mike Ashley bans media they give great coverage to Newcastle fan protests at Sports Direct AGM

1 year ago

On Tuesday, Mike Ashley took the hilarious/embarrassing step of banning the media for the Sports Direct AGM.

Talk about waving a red flag to signal bad news ahead (good news for Newcastle fans…) for Ashley and his retail empire.

Plus of course winding the media up even further, after they were messed about so badly when the last Sports Direct figures were finally in late July released many hours after the scheduled time.

Mike Ashley finally admitting that they had been handed a £605m tax bill by the Belgian authorities.

Wednesday morning sees the Sports Direct AGM now taking place and Newcastle fans are in attendance both inside and outside the meeting, some of them purchasing a nominal amount of shares so they can attend, or on proxies via other shareholders.

Some of the media had also taken a similar course of action so they could attend, after guessing a ban was on the cards when Mike Ashley refused to allow any questions to be asked at that delayed presentation/update late in July.

The media have been keen this morning to highlight the fact that Newcastle fans are in attendance at the Sports Direct AGM…

The Mag – 10 September 2019:

Things are hotting up nicely for Sports Direct and Mike Ashley.

Tuesday morning seeing rival JD Sports posting excellent results, bucking the general mood on the high street.

The company’s share price soared by 9% over the course of the day, whilst the past nine months have seen it (JD Sports share price) more than double.

Those buoyant JD Sports results meant that all eyes then turned to Sports Direct and Mike Ashley, with the SD AGM being held in London on Wednesday.

A lively meeting is forecast with shareholder advisory groups urging shareholders to vote against Ashley’s re-election at the meeting.

A series of setbacks have hit the company under Ashley’s leadership and a £605m tax bill imposed by Belgian authorities hangs over them.

The belief that this Sports Direct AGM could be a lively and uncomfortable one for the NUFC owner, appears to be confirmed by news from both Reuters and The Times.

They both confirm that Mike Ashley has now banned all journalists from the Sports Direct AGM.

Newcastle fans will be looking forward to hopefully more bad news for the NUFC owner being revealed, as they live in hope that he at last sees selling the football club as a sensible move. To concentrate on propping up his retail empire and release cash from a sale of the club.

Reuters report:

‘British retailer Sports Direct (SPD.L) has barred media from attending its annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday where majority owner Mike Ashley faces shareholder opposition to his re-election as a director.

Company founder and chief executive Ashley, who also owns Premier League soccer club Newcastle United, owns 63% of the company.

The shares have fallen 27% over the last year with investors critical of Ashley’s constant dealmaking and the group’s corporate governance and employment practices.

Several shareholder advisory groups have urged investors to vote against Ashley’s re-election as a director at the AGM.

In April, Sports Direct failed to prevent department store chain Debenhams from falling into administration and saw its equity stake wiped out.

In July, the group warned it could face a 674 million euro bill from Belgium’s tax authority and said last year’s purchase of department store group House of Fraser out of administration may have been a mistake.

Sports Direct’s auditor Grant Thornton has also quit and the retailer is struggling to find a successor.

A spokesman declined to provide a reason for media being banned from the AGM this year.

Most British corporate annual general meetings are open to media. Members of the media were invited to the Sports Direct AGM last year.’


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