Mike Ashley, the billionaire sportswear tycoon who has made a £133.1m offer for Newcastle United, secured his fortune through his Sports World stores.
Mr Ashley is said to prefer to avoid the spotlight
Founded in 1982, the chain is today the UK's largest seller of sporting goods.
The success of the firm means Mr Ashley, 42, is now said to be the UK's 25th wealthiest person. According to the Sunday Times, he is worth £1.9bn.
He pocketed £929m in a single day in February when he floated a 43% stake in the firm on the stock market.
The move also saw the company renamed Sports Direct International, although the stores will remain under the Sports World brand.
There are now 465 Sports World outlets in five countries, and the company also owns London's landmark Lillywhites sportswear shop.
The firm has 465 shops
However, the firm disappointed investors in April when it gave a weaker than expected trading update.
The acquisitive Mr Ashley has spent about £200m this year to purchase a 3% stake in German sportswear company Adidas.
He also owns just under 30% of outdoor clothing and camping chain Blacks Leisure.
Previously known for avoiding the headlines, Buckinghamshire-born Mr Ashley is said to be keen to keep his personal life private.
Yet it was reported in 2002 that he had to pay an estimated £50m in a divorce settlement.
Ashley is thought to follow England games but has no particular club allegiance.