Sport Direct’s Mike Ashley faces shareholder unrest at annual meeting

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Mike Ashley will face shareholder unrest again at Sports Direct’s meeting with investors on Wednesday.

Some major investors believe founder Mike Ashley, who owns more than 62%, has too much control over the retailer.

One investor said there had been several “strange missteps” at the firm, including the House of Fraser purchase.

A major bone of contention at the meeting will be the appointment of an auditor, after Grant Thornton resigned in August.

Tom Powdrill, of investor advisory group Pirc, said that if Sports Direct cannot appoint an auditor at the close of the meeting, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has the power to step in if necessary.

He told the BBC that the situation at the company is “is absolutely unprecedented”, adding: “This is Sports Direct all over. It has set a number of precedents, unfortunately they are all bad ones.

“Sports Direct has] been through a very turbulent period and made a number of strange missteps,” he added, citing the House of Fraser acquisition, a delay in publishing its results in July, and problems appointing an auditor.

Pirc opposes the re-election of Mr Ashley as chief executive. However, Mr Ashley holds more than 62% of the shares of the firm, so has a controlling interest.

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