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Sports Direct Drops After Executives Pare Stakes: London Mover

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Sports Direct International Plc, the U.K.’s largest sports retailer, dropped 1.5 percent in London after company executives sold about 3.9 million shares.

The stock declined 10.5 pence to 698 pence. The shares were sold by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. at 690 pence apiece, Bloomberg News reported today, citing a person familiar with the process. They were offered in a range of 683 pence to 690 pence, the person said, asking not to be named as details weren’t public.

Appleby Trust, which is acting on behalf of Sports Direct executives, said yesterday it would sell the shares to Goldman Sachs. The bank then sold the shares to investors in the market. Sports Direct, founded by Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of soccer club Newcastle United, was added to the FTSE 100 Index of the largest companies on the London Stock Exchange last month after its share price soared this year.

Today’s fall pared the stock’s advance to 81 percent this year and gave the Mansfield, England-based company a market value of 4.18 billion pounds ($6.76 billion).

Of 11 analysts who follow Sports Direct and share their findings with Bloomberg, eight recommend buying the stock, and three advise holding. The average 12-month price target for the stock is 760.71 pence, based on seven estimates, implying a potential gain of 9 percent.

Companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have raised about $80 billion in additional share sales this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The volumes nearly doubled from the same period in 2012 as investors return to the region on the back of strengthening economies and an easing debt crisis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natasha Doff in London at ndoff@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Risser at drisser@bloomberg.net

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