Tyne & Wear

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is 'power-drinking, money-making machine'

Mike Ashley arriving at the High Court Image copyright PA
Image caption Mike Ashley has dismissed the conversation with Jeffrey Blue in a London pub as "drunken banter"

Billionaire Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is a "power-drinking, money-making machine", the High Court heard.

The Newcastle United owner has rejected a claim that he owes investment banker Jeffrey Blue £14m for work he did to boost the sports retail chain's share price.

Mr Blue claims he was offered a £15m incentive during a night of heavy drinking in 2013, but only got £1m.

Lawyers for Mr Ashley told the court Mr Blue was talking "nonsense".

During closing legal arguments, Jeffrey Chapman QC, for the claimant, told Mr Justice Leggatt: "Mr Blue has seen Mr Ashley in action over the years, doing business in pubs, hotel bars and casinos. Doing business with enormous success."

Mr Chapman said evidence aired suggested Mr Ashley was a "power-drinking, money-making machine".

"The deal he entered into with Mr Blue was, like so many of his deals, a brilliant one for Mike Ashley," said Mr Chapman.

"Incentivising Mr Blue into working hard to try and double Sport Direct's share price, which is what he did.

"Mr Ashley reneged by paying Mr Blue £1m."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jeffrey Blue claims he was promised £15m by Mike Ashley

He said explanations Mr Ashley had given when denying any £15m deal were "fanciful".

The court previously heard Mr Ashley dismiss the conversation with the banker was "drunken banter".

In evidence, Mr Ashley said he did not make a share price increase agreement with Mr Blue and had paid him £1m for other business.

A ruling is expected later in the year.

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