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Sports Direct shares plunge after retailer reveals £605m tax bill

Sports Direct shares plunge after retailer reveals £605m tax bill

Sports Direct shares crashed as much as 27 per cent after Mike Ashley’s company revealed a £605m unpaid tax bill for House of Fraser, which it bought out of administration last August.

The company’s share price later recovered some lost ground but remained more than 9 per cent down by 9.40am.

Sports Direct repeatedly delayed releasing its results on Friday before finally doing so after the markets had closed. The earnings report revealed problems stemming from the company’s purchase of House of Fraser, including the tax bill from Belgian authorities.

The report was originally scheduled for release two weeks earlier but the company withheld it, blaming complications relating to the House of Fraser acquisition.

Mr Ashley had promised to turn the department store chain into a “Harrods of the High Street” when he rescued it from collapse a year ago. But on Friday his company said that problems at House of Fraser were “nothing short of terminal”.