Last-grasp attempt to save Sports World flotation
Reclusive retailer Mike Ashley is understood to have cancelled plans to pay himself a£300 million dividend, in a last stab at rescuing the floatation of his Sports World empire.

Details of the£300 million dividend were included in IPO research, produced by banks working on the float. However, fund managers have since been told the dividend won't be paid.

Staff bonuses due to be paid on floatation will also not be rewarded for two years, leaving the business debt free if it does float.

Advisers close to the company said the decision not to pay the dividend was chiefly because of tax advice. However, sources close to the company claimed no final decision had been made.

The IPO research also reveals the group - due to be renamed Sports Direct International - is forecast to make£145 million pre-tax profit this year on sales of£1.4 billion.

Sports World has 370 stores and employs 8,000 staff. A decision on whether to float is expected early next week.