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Sports Direct to ‘ignore’ deadline in hunt for new auditor

Sports Direct is still searching for a new auditor, despite reports that it could be forced to consult the government for guidance. 

The sports brand’s auditor Grant Thornton officially resigned after nine years at the company’s AGM last week, (11 September) following a £605m tax bill from Belgian authorities.

Shareholder advisory group, PIRC, said last week that the retailer would be forced to contact business secretary Andrea Leadsom if it was unable to appoint an auditor within seven days of presenting its accounts at the AGM.

That deadline was based on the advisors interpretation of the 2006 Companies Act and falls today (18 September).

Reports from Yahoo Finance UK suggest that Sports Direct is not planning to contact the business secretary. 

The company is still believed to be running a tender process to appoint a new auditor and therefore does not believe the seven-day deadline has been triggered. 

Sports Direct has been struggling to appoint new auditors after Grant Thornton stepped aside, with ‘Big Four’ firms KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY ruling themselves out. 

Mid-tier firms MHA Macintyre Hudson, BDO and Mazars were all linked with supplying audit services for the brand last month, but a deal is yet to materialise.

At the AGM, founder Mike Ashley received 90% approval to continue as a director at the group, despite a 9% drop in profits last year following the acquisition of House of Fraser. 

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