Shareholders block £11m for Mike Ashley’s brother

Shareholders of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International have voted 70.73% against paying Ashley’s brother John £11 million in back payments.

Sports Direct had called a general meeting for shareholders to vote on whether John Ashley should be paid £11 million after a joint report by the Shirebrook-based firm’s legal advisers RPC and independent accountants Smith & Williamson found John Ashley had been paid less than “other senior executives who helped build the company.”

Sports Direct said Ashley’s brother had been denied additional payments because of concerns over public relations.

After the vote, Sports Direct said in a statement: “The board trusts that shareholders will welcome the steps taken to reassure them that John Ashley did not benefit inappropriately from being the brother of majority shareholder Mike Ashley.

“In fact, John was actually disadvantaged by approximately £11 million after he forewent bonuses that he would have received if he were treated equally to other executives who helped to build the Company (as outlined in our RNS of 24 November 2017).

“By voluntarily abstaining from voting on this issue, the board has provided the company’s independent shareholders the opportunity to determine whether or not to make a retrospective payment to John Ashley.

“The board respects the views of the company’s independent shareholders, and considers all these matters to be closed.

“We now intend to move on.”