Press reports in the UK have named Mazars, BDO and MHA Macintyre as among the firms holding talks with retailer Sports Direct International to replace Grant Thornton as auditor. None of the Big Four were prepared to take the business on – all of them cited potential conflicts.

According to the Evening Standard, MHA Macintyre Hudson expects to tender for the business ‘in the coming weeks’.  MHA chairman Rakesh Shaunak is reported by the paper to have said: “We have had initial conversations not with Mike Ashley but his emissaries. We expect to take part in the tendering process, although we want to know the full reasons why Grant Thornton quit.”

BDO is reported to have turned the work down after having been approached, said The Financial Times, by executives from Game, the video game retailer that Sports Direct took over in June. BDO has been Game’s auditor since 2016.

The FT said Mazars has held “more than one conversation” with Sports Direct since Grant Thornton’s announcement.