NEWS

Sports Direct Boss Mike Ashley 'Drank 12 Pints And Vomited At Meeting', High Court Told

'Mr Ashley is not an ordinary businessman.'

03/07/2017 16:17

Newcastle United owner and sportswear firm boss Mike Ashley drank 12 pints at a business meeting and vomited into a fireplace to applause from his management team, the High Court has been told.

The claim was made by a finance expert who is embroiled in a legal fight with the businessman.

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue has sued Ashley after claiming the Sports Direct boss did not stick to a commercial agreement, the Press Association reported.

Mr Ashley disputes the claim.

PA Wire/PA Images
Mike Ashley would 'take a nap' in meetings he found boring, a court has heard

In a written statement to the court, Mr Blue described business meetings he attended, including ones at a pub near Sports Direct’s Derbyshire headquarters. 

He said: “These meetings were like no other senior management meeting I had ever attended in all my years of investment banking experience.

“It was effectively a ‘pub lock-in’ with alcohol continuing to be served well beyond closing hours and fish and chips or kebabs being provided throughout the evening.

“On one such evening, in front of his senior management team, Mr Ashley challenged a young Polish analyst in my team, Pawel Pawlowski, to a drinking competition.

“Mr Ashley and Pawel would drink pints of lager, with vodka ‘chasers’ between each pint, and the first to leave the bar area for whatever reason was declared the loser.

“After approximately 12 pints and chasers Pawel apologised profusely and had to excuse himself.

“Mr Ashley then vomited into the fireplace located in the centre of the bar, to huge applause from his senior management team.”

Mr Justice Leggatt began analysing evidence at a High Court hearing in London on Monday.

Barrister Jeffrey Chapman QC, who is leading Mr Blue’s legal team, told the judge Mr Ashley’s business practices flew in the face of “business orthodoxy”.

He said Mr Blue referred to Ashley lying underneath tables at “boring” meetings and “playing a game of spoof” to decide who paid an investment bank’s fees.

The judge had heard the dispute between Blue and Ashley related to an alleged conversation in a London pub in 2013.

Mr Blue says Mr Ashley made a promise during a meeting in a pub called the Horse & Groom.

He says Ashley promised to pay him £15 million if he used his expertise to increase Sports Direct’s share price to £8 a share.

He says Ashley paid only £1 million.

“Mr Ashley’s business practices fly in the face of business orthodoxy,” Mr Chapman told the judge in a written outline of Mr Blue’s case.

“Mr Blue refers to Mr Ashley lying underneath tables in meetings he found to be boring to ‘take a nap’, playing a game of spoof to resolve who ought to pay Merrill Lynch’s legal fees ... (totalling £750,000) and lavishly entertaining Sports Direct’s non-executive directors.”

Chapman said the judge would have to consider the relevance of the fact that the discussion took place in a pub.

He added: “Mr Ashley is not an ordinary businessman, does not conduct business in an orthodox way or in business-like environments.”

Suggest a correction