Two of Britain's wealthiest men are embroiled in a bitter row over big money bets on flagging home shopping firm Findel (FDL).

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley of Sports Direct (SPD) and hedge fund 'rottweiler' Michael Hughes are trading blows over an alleged agreement about how to improve performance at Findel.

Sports Direct in September took a stake of more than 18% in Findel after discussions with shareholders Toscafund, run by Hughes, and asset manager Schroders (SDR).

Beautiful young woman shopping over internet.

At the time of the talks, shares in Findel had declined around 20% since the start of the year because of poor performance across its education, gifts and sports retail divisions.

The business has been without a chief executive since March.

Sports Direct claims both Toscafund and Schroders agreed to support the appointment of Ben Gardener as a non-executive director as part of a plan to improve performance.

'Sports Direct believed that the combination of Sports Direct as a supportive shareholder with retail expertise and Mr. Gardener as a board director would have added value to Findel for the benefit of all of its shareholders,' says a Sports Direct statement.

But Findel shareholders yesterday voted in an Extraordinary Generam Meeting (EGM) against appointing Gardener with neither Toscafund nor Schroders backing the proposal.

In a statement, Sports Direct says it 'would not have considered working with Findel, or proposed Mr. Gardener's appointment to the Findel board, without prior indications of support from Toscafund and Schroders'.

Only a day after Sports Direct declared it had acquired a 20% stake in Findel, helping drive its shares 18% higher, Toscafund sold a third of its stake in the business, banking around £18 million.

Issue Date: 22 Dec 2015