Newcastleâ€™s unpopular chairman Freddy Shepherd seems determined to resist Mike Ashley’s takeover bid for Newcastle PLC. While most fans wish Shepherd would go away â€“ gracefully â€“ it is looking increasingly likely that Shepherd will resist the takeover.
A Hagard Freddy Shepherd last Week
Shepherd’s prior reasoning that he would sell his shares if it was in the best interests of Newcastle is obviously being laid bare as blatantly untrue. Most fans already suspected that he would sell his shares only when itâ€™s in his interests â€“ not Newcastleâ€™s.
Well placed sources have said that Shepherd is determined not to sell his 29.8% stake to Mike Ashley, the English Billionaire, who was at St. Jamesâ€™ Park last Thursday to pitch his plan to the Board and to visit Shepherd at Freeman Hospital in Jesmond.
Shepherd was said to be surprised, shocked and hurt by Sir John Hall’s decision to sell his 42 per cent holding to Ashley â€“ but thereâ€™s been bad blood between the two of them for a number of years and Hall has not been too impressed with Shepherd as Chairman of Newcastle
There are definite rumors circulating in the city that other parties are interested in buying Newcastle PLC by buying out both Shepherd and Ashley. An analyst in the city was quoted as saying late last week:
“There have definitely been other enquiries into the club.
“Two foreign investors from the Far East have been in touch as they are interested in buying the club.
They are seriously rich. They are billionaires.”
The mystery billionaire quoted last week as willing to help Shepherd in his own attempt to keep control of Newcastle is Scotland’s richest man, Sir Tom Hunter, who is a close friend of Freddyâ€™s. Only last month, Hunter was reported as being the first ever home-grown Billionaire in Scotland (Andrew Carnegie was presumably the first – but made in America). He is currently the richest individual in Scotland with wealth estimated at Â£1.05B.
Scotland Billionaire Sir Tom Hunter
Mike Ashley is scheduled to meet Shepherd and the Newcastle Board this coming Tuesday â€“ and it is being rumored that other shareholders will not accept Ashleyâ€™s offer of Â£1 per share (Â£133.1M) in total. While these takeover attempts hardly ever go smoothly – we hope that Shepherd understands the fans want Ashley to take over Newcastle.
English Billionaire Mike Ashley
It would be good if Freddy – for once – considered the fanâ€™s and Newcastleâ€™s best interests â€“ rather than his own.
That would be a very welcome change â€“ but itâ€™s something selfish Shepherd is probably unable or unwilling to do.