Sports Direct has asked the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms for fresh talks as it searches for a new auditor, in the hopes that they may reconsider turning down the contract.
According to Sky News, Sports Direct has “pleaded” with the top accountancy firms KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PwC to reconsider pitching for the contract to audit the company’s books, warning that it fears smaller firms will be unable to fulfill the role.
It comes after earlier last month reports suggested KPMG, Deloitte and EY declined due to a conflict of interest including EY’s “close proximity to House of Fraser, while PWC had a “reluctance to engage” based on its ownership structure.
If it fails to appoint an auditor Sports Direct may have to resort to an untested process that could see business secretary, Andrea Ledsom, appoint a new auditor on its behalf.
Its former auditor Grant Thornton officially stepped down from its role today (11 September) after it took the decision last month to end its 12-year stint as Sports Direct auditor “following a review of its client portfolio”.
It also followed a tumultuous results announcement in July, with the results delayed due to an unannounced £605m tax demand from authorities in Belgium, with reports suggesting Grant Thornton was only notified on the morning of the day the results were to be announced.