Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley takes a shot with £2m stake in Goals Soccer Centres

Billy Bambrough
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Sports Direct Boss Mike Ashley Attends High Court Over Alleged £15m Banker Deal
Mike Ashley recently appeared in court, embroiled in an argument over a £15m pub deal (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley – who has been focused on building what he has termed the Selfridges of Sport – has added to his retail empire.

The billionaire Newcastle United owner has made a clandestine move on shares in five-a-side football pitch chain Goals Soccer Centres, thought to be worth £2m.

The stake increases Ashley's stake in the company to 4.7 per cent, from 3.8 per cent previously.

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

The news is expected to be delivered to share holders tomorrow morning, and was first noticed by investors when large blocks of shares changed hands last Thursday and Friday.

Last month Ashley snapped up a 26 per cent stake in Game Digital, taking advantage of a sharp fall in its share price. Investors backed out of the video game retailer after it announced a profit warning due to a shortage of Nintendo consoles.

Goals and Game have been added to Ashley's stakes in Debenhams and French Connection.

Ashley was last month forced to defend his grand plans to investors after the company posted a 60 per cent fall in yearly pre-tax profit to £113.7m.

Read more: Here's how six City analysts reacted to Sports Direct results

The six-year low for profits was blamed on sterling’s post-referendum crash, which Ashley failed to hedge against, and the torrent of bad press his company has generated on an almost monthly basis.

Ashley is however feeling flush after winning a High Court case over an alleged £15m pay out 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.

The court sided with Ashley, who said the apparent promise was only a joke.

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