Newcastle Unitedâ€™s Board of Directors met with Mike Ashley and his team today to hear from him and his group their intentions for the club.
The Board is to consider Mike Ashleyâ€™s offer for the club â€“ priced at just over Â£133M – and will make further announcements as appropriate.
We believe this is a good step forward to having Ashley eventually own Newcastle United.
Potential Owner Mike Ashley
After the meeting the Board issued the following Statement:
“The board will now consider its response to the offer from St James Holdings Limited. “A further announcement will be made in due course.”
Thomson Financial issued the following news report concerning the meeting:
Newcastle United PLC said its board today met with Sports retailing entrepreneur Mike Ashley, who is bidding to take over the football club, adding the parties had a useful and constructive discussion.
St James Holding, which is the company Ashley set up to acquire Newcastle United PLC – bought a 41.6 pct stake in Newcastle United from Sir John Hall last Tuesday. Under the rules of the stock exchange, he was then required to make a formal takeover bid and today’s announcement appears to have taken his company (SJH Group) closer to that goal.
A statement from the board read:
“Further to the announcement by Newcastle United PLC on 25 May 2007, the board of Newcastle United announces that there was a meeting with Mike Ashley and his team earlier today at which there was a useful and constructive discussion. â€œ
The board had announced last week their intention to meet with Ashley, who City analysts thought would have little difficulty in reaching the 50%-plus mark.
Chairman Freddy Shepherd, who holds a stake of around 29.8%, is the one key stock-holder who could stand in the way of SJH Group acquiring the 75% share needed to make full control inevitable.
Freddy Shepherd was not present at the meeting today due to his incapacitation – and is still in hospital. He was represented by his brother Bruce Shepherd and other board members Steve Walton and Timothy Revill.
Newcastle Chairman Freddy Shepherd
However, this is a positive move forward and the fact the meeting was held â€“ only eight days after Ashleyâ€™s initial offer of 100P per share is good â€“ in that it may not be too long before Ashleyâ€™s bid is successful.
New manager Sam Allardyce however â€“ is not letting any uncertainty stand in the way of bringing in players he thinks will make Newcastle a formidable team next season.
Sam has already been linked with six or seven players he seems intent on bringing to the club soon.
Once Ashley takes over – Allardyce may find himself with the funds to buy two or three world class players – to top off the team with some real class.
We’ll keep you updated as all this unfolds – comments welcome.