Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley buys Goals Soccer Centres stake
Outspoken Sports Direct majority shareholder Mike Ashley has diversified again: this time into Goals Soccer Centres, the Aim-listed five-a-side pitch operator.
In a statement this morning, Goals Soccer said Sports Direct had bought a 4.9 per cent stake in the company – worth just under £4m – via a contract for difference (CFD).
It's not the first time Ashley has made an investment via a jazzy financial instrument: in September he took a punt on Tesco, entering into a put option agreement with Goldman Sachs. He's also previously converted a 4.6 per cent stake in Debenhams into a put.
It hasn't been an easy year for Goals Soccer: in September shares fell 16 per cent after it issued a profit warning, saying it had been hit by customers cancelling bookings at its 46 centres and going on holiday instead.
In a statement, it said it expected full-year profit before tax in the range of £9.3m to £9.8m, down from expectations of £10.9m.
But although it said like-for-like sales had fallen 10 per cent in the nine weeks to mid-September, it added that the comparison was tough: the World Cup took place during the same period last year.
Ashley is already a big football fan: he owns Newcastle United, and a stake in Rangers.
The news sent shares in Goals Soccer up 4.9 per cent to 135p in early trading.