Blog: Sports Direct AGM lacks JJB drama

Joe Ayling | 10 September 2009

The Annual General Meeting of Sports Direct International brought no repeat of the drama its founder helped spring on the same occasion at rival JJB Sports in July.

A mere fourteen shareholders attended the meeting, at the company's HQ in Shirebrook, Nottinghamshire, and there were as many security guards as directors.

Perhaps founder Mike Ashley was wary of a revenge visit, having sent along an unwelcome representative to JJB's AGM in Wigan to quiz that company's chairman, Sir David Jones, with whom he has been at loggerheads.

Yesterday (9 September) one shareholder was particularly unhappy with the heavy handed security treatment he incidentally received outside a factory outlet store below the meeting room.

Others asked Ashley how the company had been affected by his takeover of relegated football team Newcastle United, but he remained silent on the matter.

Ashley, who reportedly owns 71% of Sports Direct, spoke only to propose the re-election of a fellow director. 

An impending Competition Commission (CC) investigation of stores purchased from JJB was also off limits, as it “continues to co-operate fully with the enquiry and work with the CC on the matter”.

Ashley is now executive deputy chairman of the company he founded in 1982, which yesterday reported a 10% uptick in sales for for the 13 weeks ended 26 July.

Beyond this, chief executive Dave Forsey said the board now expects full-year underlying EBITDA of at least GBP150m (US$247.4m), signalling a return to form after earnings dipped to GBP136.8m in fiscal 2008.

just-style's expectations of a company AGM were unrealistically heightened in Wigan, where Sir David also defended once taking a GBP1.5m loan from you know who.

But an “Ashley General Meeting” is more like the man himself – quiet, shrewd and efficient.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.  


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