NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley is today reported to be in line to receive a £65m share bonus following the meteoric growth of his Sports Direct empire.
The sportswear firm has put forward proposals to shareholders to award founder and deputy chairman Ashley – who holds a 62 per cent stake in the company but receives no salary – eight million ordinary shares in the company.
They would be worth £65m at yesterday’s closing share price of 809 pence.
The company’s shareholders are due to meet on April 4, and its largest institutional shareholder Odey Asset Management has confirmed it intends to approve the move.
Sports Direct Chairman Keith Hellawell said: “The board believes that Mike is one of the outstanding retailers of his generation, and that all shareholders benefit from his on-going commitment to Sports Direct.”
The group, which has over 600 sports stores around Europe, including 400 in the UK, grew rapidly during the economic downturn.
That was due to its competitive pricing, acquisitions, expanding online sales and the demise of rivals such as JJB Sports.
The firm’s shares, up 88 per cent on a year ago, entered Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index in September.