Sport Direct loses auditor Grant Thornton

FILE PHOTO: Company logo is seen outside a Sports Direct store in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: Company logo is seen outside a Sports Direct store in Vienna, Austria, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

August 14, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct <SPD.L> said its auditor Grant Thornton had quit, leaving the retailer struggling to find a replacement after it said last month that talks with other members of the “Big Four” accounting firms which audit most major companies had not been fruitful.

Grant Thornton, the group’s auditor since 2007, will not seek reappointment at Sport Direct’s annual shareholders’ meeting next month following a review of its client portfolio, the company said on Wednesday, without giving any further reason for the decision.

Sports Direct’s results were delayed last month after the company said it had received an 11th-hour tax bill from Belgian authorities that had to be assessed by Grant Thornton before it could sign off the numbers.

Shares in Sports Direct, which has expanded beyond its sportswear foundations to include retailers such as struggling department stores group House of Fraser, fell 4% in early trade.

Sports Direct had said in its results statement last month Grant Thornton had “vast experience” of the company and it intended to reappoint the firm for another year.

It said discussions with other members of the Big Four had thrown up barriers, including potential conflicts of interest and in the case of PwC a reluctance to engage with Sports Direct.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Holmes)

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