Sports Direct appoints RSM UK as new auditor

Sports Direct has announced the appointment of RSM UK Group as its new auditor with immediate effect.

It ends a six-week hunt for a new auditor, after Grant Thornton announced it was stepping down from the position on 13 August 2019.

At the time, the firm said “following a review of its client portfolio” it intends not to seek reappointment as the company’s auditors and will cease to hold office as auditors with effect from 11 September 2019.

The news came after the delayed publication of Sports Direct’s annual results 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.

Sports direct revealed at the time that is was in “early discussions” with ‘Big Four’ accoutnancy firms as sought to find a replacement, however 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 our ownership structure”.

Following this, Sports Direct approached mid-tier accountancy firms BDO and Mazars in its races to appoint a new auditor, in order to avoid government intervention and a possible suspension from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) by reversing a decision to appoint a ‘Big Four’ auditor.

Grant Thornton had handled the company’s accounts since it was first floated on the LSE in 2007.

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