Sports Direct share price rises on news of independent corporate governance review

Helen Cahill
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The company has been accused by MPs of allowing its warehouse to be run like a "Victorian workhouse" (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct's share price has risen on news the embattled retailer has bowed to calls from investors for an independent review of corporate governance and working practices.

The retailer initially insisted on using its own law firm, RPC, to conduct the review - but has now said it is willing to make it completely independent. The retailer's share price was up 1.8 per cent at 287.1p in mid afternoon.

Read more: Mike Ashley says he commutes by helicopter because it's more efficient

Investors pushed hard for the review to be fully independent at Sports Direct's annual general meeting, but at the time the company said RPC would be able to carry the work out more quickly than an independent firm could.

20 September 2016 @ 11:15amSports Direct Intl (SPD)

Non-executive director Claire Jenkins told investors at the AGM:

There was a pre-judgement about whether the RPC review was independent.

We believe we've demonstrated that we are not ducking... It remains in investors' interests to do this cost-effectively.

However, the company has now changed its position.

Sports Direct's founder Mike Ashley went on the BBC after the announcement and boasted that he takes a helicopter to work - but his car-crash interview has not deterred investors. Nor did his plain admission that he had no idea what was going on in his company.

"We've had some things we've had to fix and hopefully in the last 90 days we've fixed those things," Ashley said. "You would be surprised how little I knew what was going on."

Investor Forum - a group representing several of Sports Direct's institutional investors - has been one of the most vocal in the ongoing discussion about the retailer's corporate governance, and said recently that there can be no "quick fixes" at the company.

Today, Investor Forum's executive director Andy Griffiths said: “We welcome this positive step, responding to the views of independent shareholders. Our members believe this is an opportunity to bring about meaningful and lasting change, and are committed to working constructively with the Board and the independent reviewer to ensure it can be a turning point in rebuilding trust.” ​​

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