Short Business CV on Billionaire Mike Ashley

Here is some information on Mike Ashley – courtesy of Wikipedia.
A couple of things to mentions are that there are no recent photographs of Mike – the last are apparently from the 1970’s which we find rather strange.
The second item of interest is that he is associated with Umbro – and that may mean Newcastle may eventually switch their shirt sponsor from Addidas.

But we’ll see – he first has to buy the club!


Mike Ashley grew up in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, where his parents still live in a modest bungalow.
Educated at Burnham Grammar School, the only photos that exist of Ashley to the present day are from the 1970’s, when he was a county squash coach and avid ballerina.

After leaving school at 16, Ashley began trading on the high street, opening Sport and Ski shops in and around London in the 1980’s – by 1990, there were three registered and recorded outlets.

The chain expanded quickly funded by private money and profit from the stores, and by the late 1990s Ashley had re-branded the chain Sports Soccer and opened over 100 stores across the United Kingdom.

However, as a sole trader and not having to file accounts at Companies House, little was known about him even by rival retailers. Although sole-trader status preserved his privacy, Ashley was missing out on the limited-liability advantage offered by company status, and in 1999 incorporated the business.

Ashley’s Hertfordshire based group Sports World International, with headquarters in Dunstable, Bedfordshire has over 300 UK stores including the chains Sports World, Lillywhites (acquired in 2002), and the Original Shoe Company. The group employs 8,000 people in the UK and at stores in Ireland, Belgium and Slovenia.

In 2006 it over took JJB Sports as the UK’s largest sports wear retailer. In mid-2006 it was also revealed that Ashley had held talks with John Hargreaves, founder of Matalan on both taking a 25% stake in the trouble retail business and installing mezzanine floors in larger Matalan stores, on which Sports World outlets could be operated.

In February 2003 he bought the Dunlop Slazenger brand for £40M, followed up by acquiring outdoor gear manufacturer Karrimor in March 2003, Kangol for £10M, boxing brand Lonsdale and tennis brand Donnay. Most of these brands were bought from distressed sellers, including after looking at a takeover, Ashley took a £9 million stake and signed a lucrative long-term deal with troubled brand Umbro.

Ashley has built a 29.4% stake in Blacks Leisure, the owner of Millets and Mambo, and is thought to hold stakes in JJB Sports and 19% of JD Sports.

In late November 2006, a number of business newspapers reported that Ashley was looking at an IPO of Sports World International. He has hired Merrill Lynch, who have initially valued the group at up to £2.5B ahead of the flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Floated at 300p, the shares initially performed poorly, on sentiment surrounding the sports retail sector and on suspicion of the group’s business model.

6 comments so far

  • reggie22

    May 23, 2007 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #1

    he also owns repotedly between a 3% & 10% stake in addidas depending where u read so i doupt a change is in order yet give it a few years he will prob own addidas from what i have read so far !

  • Ed Harrison

    May 23, 2007 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #2

    OK – i like the fact that he’s in the sports business !

  • Pete

    May 23, 2007 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #3

    He also was the whistleblower on the shirt pricing fixing thing. This shows that he at least looks out for the fans.

    I think he would be SUPER if fat freddy takes our none-so-subtle hints.

    I do hope he puts a fair wack into the toon, but I hope we don’t get labelled another Chel$ki – mind you I suppose I could put up with it if it means we are winning all the trophys 😀

  • Sagar

    May 23, 2007 at 5:27 PM

    Comment #4

    As long as newcastle don’t become another chelsea all is good.
    He just has to be sensible about how he goes about improving newcastle’s fortunes.

  • Ivor Biggen

    May 23, 2007 at 6:35 PM

    Comment #5

    He is a well known SPURS FAN..tried to buy Spurs alongside Paul Kemsey 3 months ago but ENIC did not want to sell which proved to be a right decision because since Ashley interest Spurs doubled their value of the club and now worth a lot more than Newcastle Utd.

    Expect them to be sold for an almost £300 million in the next 3 months.

  • Ed Harrison

    May 23, 2007 at 7:44 PM

    Comment #6

    Ivor – we just hope Mike Ashley buys Newcastle – I guess he will tghen be a Newcastle fan. Surely at around £130M Newcastle are better value than Spurs – if they are cost £300M.


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