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SBD Global/December 14, 2012/FinancePrint All
British sporting retailer Sports Direct said that it would "attempt to reintroduce" a bonus plan to award a one-off windfall worth more than £40M ($64M) to Founder Mike Ashley after company shareholders "rejected a similar measure in September," according to Mark Wembridge of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The revised plan has the potential to award Ashley 10 million shares -- worth £40M at Thursday's share value -- which would vest in '18 if performance targets are met. Sports Direct CEO Dave Forsey said that the group would "put a new bonus proposal, altered to address shareholder caveats, to investors in January." The news came as Sports Direct said that first-half revenues had been "buoyed by the U.K.'s summer of sport" that included the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and Euro 2012. Sports Direct reported a 22.5% year-on-year increase in revenues to £1.1B ($1.8B) in the six months through Oct. 28 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/13).
The Lawn Tennis Association said that last summer's Wimbledon Championships "saw profits jump by 7% to record levels," according to the BBC. The LTA said that the tournament's profits this year were £37.8M ($70M). The organization will invest the surplus "back into British tennis." It spent £12.3M ($19.8M) in the past year "investing in developing British tennis players" and more than £17M ($27M) on "encouraging people to take up the sport" (BBC, 12/13). ESPN STAR Sports reported the "combined income of the LTA and the Tennis Foundation" stood at £65.6M ($1.1B) for the year through September, up from £63.2M in the previous 12 months. Its "combined expenditure" stood at £66.5M ($1.1B), a rise of £3.9M ($6.2M) (ESS, 12/13). BLOOMBERG's Danielle Rossingh reported Wimbledon has seen its profit rise 47% since '08 (BLOOMBERG, 12/13). Alongside increasing profits, participation levels have also been on the up with a Sport England survey showing an 11% increase to 417,700 in the 16-and-up age group. The LTA also claims that growth from 51,900 to 58,400 in the number of juniors competing (LTA).
The top clubs in Portuguese football "continue struggling with preoccupying levels of debt," according to Hugo Daniel Sousa of PUBLICO. Spurred by the financial crisis, difficulties getting bank loans and the implementation of UEFA Financial Fair Play rules, data from the past season shows that Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto owe banks €411.9M ($538.5M), up €59.8M ($78.4M) from the '10-11 season. Benfica's debt climbed from €157M in '10-11 to €200M ($261.5M) this season. Sporting's debt increased from €95M ($124.2M) to €116.4M ($151.7M). FC Porto was the only team that actually reduced its debt. The team owes the bank €95.9M ($125.4M), down from €98M after the '10-11 season (PUBLICO, 12/12).