Thursday, 29 November 2018

Sports Direct - Mike Ashley's declining popularity

Perhaps others spotted this at the time, but I just realised that Mike Ashley saw a very sizeable vote against his re-election at the most recent Sports Direct AGM.

On the headline vote he walked it with a vote against of just under 10%, or 44m shares. But obviously he's the controlling shareholder so a lot of those votes are his. So if we look at the votes on independent directors (where his holding is stripped out) the total number of minority shareholder votes cast is 120m. So the minority shareholder vote against his re-election was 36.6%. There can't be that many votes against chief execs that are that high. What is more I can see some interesting names voting against him - like M&G.

It's also up from a roughly 20% minority shareholder vote against in 2017, 20% against in 2016 (though including abstentions takes total not in favour to 27%) and 11.5% in 2015.

Obviously there is no chance of him being ousted, but it again shows you how unusual Sports Direct is in governance terms.

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