// Sports Direct reportedly in negotiations with MHA Macintyre Hudson to become its new auditor
// It follows news that its auditor Grant Thornton quit after 10 years.
// PwC, EY, KPMG, Deloitte and BDO have also shunned Sports Direct
Sports Direct is reportedly talks with a smaller auditor after being shunned by the big four accounting firms as it scrambles to avoid suspension from the stock market.
According to the Evening Standard, Sports Direct is in negotiations with MHA Macintyre Hudson to become its new auditor.
It comes after the Mike Ashley-owned retail company – which owns the eponymous sportswear chain, House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and Jack Wills – saw its auditor Grant Thornton quit from its role after 10 years.
The firm, which has audited Sports Direct since it floated on London’s main market in 2007, is due to step down after the retailer’s annual meeting on September 11.
The decision to quit placed Sports Direct at risk of being the first major listed business in the UK to be suspended from the stock market for failing to appoint an auditor in time.
Meanwhile, the big four accountancy firms – PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY – and BDO have all reportedly rejected Sports Direct’s invitation to become its auditor.
However, earlier this week the Financial Times reported that Mazars held “more than one conversation” with Sports Direct since Grant Thornton’s decision to step down.
Under UK Listing Authority rules, companies listed on the main London market must file audited accounts three months after the end of their financial half-year or face being suspended.
Sports Direct’s first half-year runs until the end of October, which mean it will have to file accounts by February 2020.
The company asked the UK government last week to clarify what it means if it fails to appoint an auditor.
Earlier this month, Sports Direct grabbed headlines after its full-year results were delayed on the day it was due.
It citing “complexities” of integrating House of Fraser and a €674 million (£624 million) Belgian tax bill.