Mike Ashley wins High Court case disputing alleged £15m promise made in a pub

Helen Cahill
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Mike Ashley arriving at the High Court to give evidence (Source: Getty)

Mike Ashley has won a High Court case over an alleged £15m payout promise he made in a pub.

The Sports Direct boss was taken to court by investment banker Jeffrey Blue, who claimed Ashley promised to pay him £15m if he boosted Sports Direct's share price to £8.

The alleged deal was made in London pub the Horse & Groom in 2013. Blue was eventually only paid £1m for his work.

Read more: Ashley tells court he's a "power drinker" in bid to discredit £14m claim

Following the judgement, Ashley called Blue a "blue faced liar".

"The only reason the Sports Direct share price exceeded £8 and will hopefully do so again, is because of the sterling efforts of all the people who work at Sports Direct," he said.

However, Ashley said he was drunk at the time, and that the apparent promise was only a joke.

Ashley's case centred on proving just how drunk he was during what Blue described as "management meetings". He was forced to timetable his boozing to the judge, saying his associates "kept the pints coming like machine guns".

"In two hours, how many pints do you think I can put down?" he said. "Understand, I am a power drinker...I binge drink...I am trying to get drunk."

Blue recounted several "pub lock-in" meetings to the court. On one occasion, Ashley allegedly challenged an analyst to a drinking competition, saying they should down pints, followed by a vodka shot, until one of them left the bar.

The analyst managed 12 pints before bowing out, and Ashley promptly vomited into the pub fireplace “to huge applause from his senior management team”.

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