Standard Life sell off Sports Direct shares
Crisis-hit Sports Direct face pressure from fund managers
by Abi Moses on 7th August, 2017
Troubled retailer, Sports Direct, have been dealt a huge blow after its biggest independent investor, Standard Life, has sold its entire 5.8% holding in the firm.
Another investor, Aviva, have also revealed they have sold down their stake, with many fund managers concerned Sports Direct may be unable to address its current corporate governance issues.
Ahead of next month's annual meeting, chairman, Keith , has pledged to step down if he fails to receive the backing of the firm's minority shareholders during the re-election vote. Despite 54% of independent shareholders opposing the reappointment of in January, the backing of chief executive, Mike Ashley, saved the former West Yorkshire police chief constable.
Many investors are concerned about Mr Ashley's continued monopoly of the firm with one unnamed management firm, claiming "We are concerned about the direction of travel at the firm and what will happen next."
Whilst the highly-publicised allegations of poor working conditions is also a major worry, Sports annual report suggests many measures have been put in place to improve staff conditions. The annual report claims, "All contributions received [regarding issues of concern] are read by senior management. Improvements as a result of this dialogue include changes to working arrangements, free Wi-Fi in canteens and the introduction of English lessons."
Chairman, Mr , added "We have made positive progress across the business as we continue to strive to ensure that all our people are treated with dignity and respect. FY17 has been a transitional year for the company and for our people. It is my firm belief that Sports Direct is a company of which Britain can rightly feel very proud. I hope that the progress we have made over the last 12 months will be taken into account by shareholders prior to the next shareholder vote at our AGM in 2017."
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