Mike Ashley is a billionaire businessman behind the Sports World and Lillywhites retail stores. He was born in Buckinghamshire in 1964 so is a young 42.
As we reported earlier in the day Mike has bought Sir John Hall’s holding of 41.6% of the company for 100p per share.
As we also stated earlier Stock Exchange rules mean that the company now has to make a cash offer for the remaining shares, around 29.8 per cent of which belong to chairman Freddy Shepherd.
Sir John will remain as the club’s life president – but the question mark now hangs over Freddy Shepherd, who faces a major decision over his continuing involvement in Newcastle United.
We have gathered as much information as we can on Mike Ashley – and as things develop – we will keep you informed on this new potential deal.
Mike Ashley was recently named at No 25 in 2007 The Sunday Times Rich List with a personal fortune of Â£1,900 million – which – for our US readers is almost $4B.
Good – that should be enough to buy a couple of good players. 😀
Mike said today:
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to invest in Newcastle United. The club has a fantastic infrastructure, for which Sir John and the board must take much of the credit.
“I am pleased that Sir John has agreed to remain as life president of the club. Newcastle United has a wonderful heritage and the passion of its fans is legendary.
“I am sure that, like me, they are already excited about the prospects for next season under the new manager’s stewardship.”
Notice that Mike is right behind Big Sam – as the new manager – so there’ll be no change there.
Big Sam will not know what to do with the money if the takeover actually happens – you talk about going from pauper to prince!
Sir John Hall, who formed the Magpie Group to take over the club back in the early 1990s, ended his reign as chairman on December 1st, 1997 and believes the time is now right for new leadership at St James’ Park.
Freddy Shepherd took over the reins of the club when Sir John left.
Sir John issued the following statement:
“I have been associated with the direction of Newcastle United for nearly 20 years. In that time, I have led the club and, before I retired, led the team responsible for the modernization of the club we all see today.”It is now time for me to move on and let others take up the challenge of competing in the global marketplace.”Mike Ashley is a major player in the sporting world and I am convinced that he is the right person to take my place and take the club forward. I am sure he will be good for the club and its loyal fans and indeed for the region.
“I wish him the very best and hope he enjoys it as much as I have. Finally, I would like to thank all the fans for their support whilst I was at the helm and would ask them to lend the same level of support to Mike. He has my full backing.”
Well – we got a new manager Big Sam Allardyce – who seems very good – only a couple of weeks ago – and now the club could soon be in the hands of a Billionaire – and an Englishman at that.
Interest in Newcastle has been rife for over a year with attempts coming from the Jersey-based Belgravia Group and the other by the Polygon-backed St James’ Park Group.
Shepherd has always insisted in the past he would not stand in the way of a “Geordie Abramovich” who wanted to pour millions into the club.
We think this is good news for the club – and it could propel us into being a top 4 club in England and we think that Freddy Shepherd – who has always said he will sell if it’s in the best interests of the club – will probably sell.
It should then be interesting who Mike Ashley brings in as Chairman of our club.
We understand there will be lots of questions concerning the debt (estimated at â‚¤60M) and the new St. James Park expansion we reviewed earlier in the week – but let’s have your comments on this news – we think things will be moving very quickly in the next few days.
Onward and Upward. 😀