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Sports Direct proposes name change to Frasers Group

The FTSE 250 retail giant, owned by billionaire tycoon Mike Ashley, will allow shareholders to vote on the name change at 9.30am on 13 December

Sports Direct International Plc - Sports Direct proposes name change to Frasers Group
The company's Sports Direct branding will remain the same across its stores

Athleisure retail giant Sports Direct International Plc (LON:SPD) is proposing to change its name to Frasers Group PLC at a general meeting in three weeks’ time.

In an announcement late on Monday, the FTSE 250 firm, owned by billionaire tycoon Mike Ashley, will allow shareholders to vote on the name change at 9.30am on 13 December.

READ: Mike Ashley criticises CMA probe of JD Sports

In a letter to shareholders, the company’s non-executive chairman David Daly said the name change reflected the company’s strategy to “elevate its retail proposition across all channels” and demonstrate its “diversified portfolio of sports, fitness, fashion and lifestyle fascias”.

The move follows a rocky year for Sports Direct after Ashley went on a buying spree among Britain’s struggling retail sector.

One of the company's biggest purchases came in August last year when it rescued department store chain House of Fraser from administration, however, since then it has also added video game group GAME Digital, bicycle store Evans Cycles, furniture retailer Sofa.com and clothing brand Jack Wills.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing, however, with Ashley losing out on a bid to take over Debenhams following a bitter battle with the chain’s creditors. A bid for clothing group Findel was also rejected in May.

Other previous targets on Ashley’s buying spree included cake chain Patisserie Valerie and five-a-side pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres, although these bids were later withdrawn.

The company has also been struggling with internal problems after it was forced to delay the publication of its final results in July, only to then unveil a €674mln Belgian tax bill and no profit guidance for the year ahead due to problems at House of Fraser that it said were “nothing short of terminal in nature”.

The operating loss of £54.6mln was also worse than analysts had feared.

In late-morning trading on Tuesday, Sports Direct shares were flat at 340.8p.

Quick facts: Frasers Group PLC

Price: 361.6 GBX

LSE:FRAS
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.88 billion
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