Banker sues Sports Direct revealing ‘unorthodox’ business practices

Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley has been accused of unorthodox business practices, including heavy drinking and taking naps under meeting room tables during client meetings, as a former Merrill Lynch banker sues the billionaire businessman in the London High Court.

Jeffrey Blue says the Sports Direct boss promised to pay him £15m if he managed to increase the company’s share price to £8, but instead only paid him £1m, the BBC reports.

Jeffrey Chapman QC, representing Blue, told the judge that Ashley’s business practices flew in the face of of “business orthodoxy”.

Blue attended several senior management meetings at a pub in Derbyshire, which he described as a “pub lock-in”.

On one occasion, Ashley challenged one of Blue’s analysts to a drinking competition including pints of lager and vodka chasers, which ultimately resulted in the chief executive vomiting in the fireplace.

Blue also described how Ashley would demonstrate his “boredom and frustration” during client meetings, including various episodes where he would lie underneath meeting room tables to ‘have a nap’.

David Cavender QC, representing Ashley, told the judge Blue’s claim was an “opportunistic try on”.

The hearing continues.