Sports Direct shares fall after results chaos

Mike Ashley

Shares in Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct fell by as much as 27% on Monday morning following the chaos that surrounded the retailer’s delayed annual results announcement on Friday.

The shares later recovered some ground to settle around 209p, reducing the loss on Monday to around 9%.

This was the stock market’s first real response to the company’s chaotic and delayed annual results statement on Friday that included a shock €674 million tax bill from Belgian authorities and a warning that the group’s House of Fraser chain has “terminal” problems.

David Cumming, head of UK equities at Aviva Investors, told the BBC on Monday: “Sports Direct is almost a case study in failed corporate governance.”

Analysts at Peel Hunt wrote: “We are disappointed how Friday played out but it’s far more worrying that Sports Direct now seems to be strategically snookered, check-mated and clean bowled. 

“The shares are hard to value, but are surely only for the very brave.”

The Peel Hunt analysts added: “Friday’s delays and general nonsense weren’t ‘Just Mike’ or maverick or slapstick, they were an exasperating and rude means of avoiding wide analytical questioning on the very disappointing FY19. 

“It wasn’t a shocker of a year in some numeric respects, and the revelation that HOF was a mistake was obviously in the post, but the home truths about the core Sports Direct business were pretty shocking and management seems to be out of ideas …”