The founder of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, has accused shareholders of cutting his back, causing speculation that the billionaire might take the company privately.
In a tirade the 54-year-old investor accused him of not supporting and & # 39; ally & # 39; close ally Keith Hellawell, who stopped this week as chairman.
And in comments that betrayed Ashley's irritation with the increased research that goes with a public corporation, he said: "It's obvious that real entrepreneurs will never be accepted in the public arena.
Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley accused investors of not supporting him and repeatedly "hunting", close ally Keith Hellawell, who retired as chairman this week.
& # 39; The shareholders have now made it extremely challenging for future involvement.
& # 39; On the one hand, they are very happy with our performance and progress, but with the other hand they have put Sports Direct and me in the back by repeatedly chasing Keith Hellawell. & # 39;
The outburst – in a statement published yesterday – led to speculation that Ashley might want to buy the company and take it back into private ownership.
Comparing the tycoon with the American billionaire and the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, Russ Mold, investment director at AJ Bell, said: & # 39; It is a reasonable conclusion that people will achieve.
Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United FC, is not far from the limelight since he launched Sports Direct in 2007.
He has come under attack due to poor working conditions in his warehouses and business contacts with his family, including the promotion of his daughter's daughter, Michael Murray, to head or elevation & # 39; to be for £ 5 million a year.
Ashley's stubborn behavior has also attracted the attention.
A court heard last year that he held meetings with the management in the pub and even vomited in a fireplace at one business meeting after drinking about ten pints and vodka hunters.
Hellawell, 76, finally stopped this week at the company's AGM after a barrage of criticism from shareholders about how the company is being run.
Simon Bentley, the senior independent director, also resigned. It came during a chaotic couple of hours that Sports Direct returned to comments after it had seen a bid on Debenhams after the recent £ 90 million House of Fraser acquisition, which he promised to transform into the Harrods of the High Street & # 39 ;.
Ashley said: "Despite considerable challenges in the retail sector in the UK and beyond, causing many retailers to fail, Sports Direct continued to perform well and outperformed market expectations.
The acquisition of House of Fraser will be a game changer. & # 39; Despite this progress, he said: "Shareholders seem to be affected by pressure from the media and certain other organizations, and they have not supported Sports Direct, Keith and myself on this trip."
He added: "The media circus around Sports Direct, including but not limited to matters related to our AVA, only proves that no matter what progress Sports Direct makes, it will always be subject to disproportionate checks and misrepresentations. . & # 39;
Sports Direct shares have been quoted 31 percent since the stock market and are valued at £ 1.9 billion. Ashley's 61 percent is worth nearly £ 1.2 billion.
House of Fraser collapsed with debts of £ 1 billion. Ashley bought it using a controversial pre-pack administration, which meant that he took the case without debt.
He angered House of Fraser suppliers and customers after refusing to pay the shopkeeper's debts and reportedly promising to pay back customers who had canceled their order.
Ashley said: & # 39; The people in the Sports Direct group, including House of Fraser, are and will remain my very first priority. & # 39;