Jim Armitage: Sports Direct revives its spivvy image
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Friday 17 January 2014
Mike Ashley will be feeling very clever.
He and his board at Sports Direct have created a financial instrument so brilliantly complex that, I would imagine, only his former Merrill Lynch genius adviser Jeff Blue really understands it. The City certainly doesn't.
The company's advisers assured that this put-option-with-a-difference was wholeheartedly approved by the board, and that the non-executive directors all plainly understood it. Really?
Anyway, it says, essentially nothing has changed: we retain a stake in Debenhams and are still seeking dialogue.
Except, actually, a lot has changed. Sports Direct, which fought so hard to shake off the spivvy image it had when Mr Ashley first brought it to the market, had been starting to behave itself like a real FTSE-100 company.
Now, it's going back where it started. Poor communication, eccentric behaviour, baffling language.
Not that Mr Ashley will care, though.
What was it he used to call investors who didn't like his style? Crybabies.
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