Sports Direct stocks down on legal row

<p>Shares in the sports retailer fell heavily today.</p>

The share price of leading UK high street retailer Sports Direct has fallen heavily today (April 8th) following the news that the firm's founder has cut his stake in the business.

Mike Ashley, who is also the owner of Newcastle United Football Club, has vastly reduced his shareholding in the company, raising an amount believed to be around £200 million as a result.

Mr Ashley's stake was therefore cut to 57.7 per cent, with the deal going through around the same time he invested about £20 million in purchasing Tom Hunter's stake in House of Fraser, sparking a legal row.

That purchase went through just after China's Sanpower Group agreed to buy a 89 per cent stake in the group in a deal worth more than £450 million, including debt.

It was reported Mr Ashley's move was an attempt to derail the planned takeover, but a source close to the deal said this had not happened.

"This situation has no impact on our plans to sell to Sanpower and we will be making an announcement in due course," they said.

At 13:40 BST, shares in Sports Direct were over 11 per cent down for the day.

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