The next step has been taken by English Billionaire Mike Ashley in his attempt to take Newcastle United PLC private by buying at least 90% of the shares in the club.
Having agreed earlier this week to purchase Chairman Freddy Shepherdâ€™s 29.8% holding for Â£37.6M – coupled with the purchase of Sir John Hallâ€™s 41.6% share for Â£55.3M – Ashley already owns over 70% of the club’s shares. His plan is to acquire 90% of the club by June 28th with his offer – now of 101p per share – or a grand total of Â£133.8M.
Once he owns 90% of the shares all remaining shares must be sold to him.
It looks like a cast iron certainty that within three weeks Mike Ashley will own the club and will then take it private.
This is what St. James Park Holding Ltd (SJHL) â€“ the company set up to handle the takeover – stated in the letter that went out to shareholders on Friday.
“Newcastle is one of the leading football clubs in the UK with an international brand and a fan base.
“Many of the top teams have changed ownership and some of the new owners have been willing to invest significant amounts in maintaining and developing the strength and depth of their teams.
“SJHL recognizes the unfulfilled potential of Newcastle, as shown by its investment in shares of Â£55.3 million and its commitment to invest a further Â£78.5 million to acquire the shares it does not own.
“Mike Ashley has funds to make available, through SJHL, for investment in Newcastle United. However, before finalizing the amount he is willing to invest, Ashley will want to undertake a thorough strategic review, including its existing infrastructure, contractual arrangements, playing staff and financial position.
“SJHL anticipates that this strategic review will commence after the offer becomes unconditional.”
“It is important Newcastle United shareholders make the right decision now, not just for the benefit of shareholders but also for the benefit of the club and its supporters.”
Chairman Freddy Shepherd
Newcastle Chairman Freddy Shepherd also added:
“The company’s publicly listed status has placed certain constraints on its ability to invest in players, notwithstanding the fact that over the last five years the company has spent a total of approximately Â£104 million on player acquisitions,”
“This situation has become more acute in recent years as certain clubs have significantly increased the amount they are able and prepared to invest in their squads.
Mike Ashley has talked with close friends about developing the clubâ€™s successful academy – and move ahead quickly with the plans to develop the St. James Park stadium and surrounding land. A friend close to the Billionaire said:
“”He wants to develop the Alan Shearers of the future by investing in the academy to produce home-grown talent,”
“One of the things that has impressed him most has been St James’ Park and he really wants to drive forward the plans to extend the capacity and make it one of Europe’s top grounds.”
This is more good news that Mike Ashley has a vision for where he wants to take Newcastle United football club.
To quote a famous Beatles line (on their career) – that’s To the Top – To the Very Top.
Ashley seems committed to do whatever is necessary to make Newcastle United one of the best clubs in Europe â€“ both on and off the field – and it is good news for both Newcastle fans and the people of Newcastle. It’s interesting – but not surprising that the exact amount he is willing to invest will come after his strategic review – some of which would have been done undoubtedly before he made his bid.
We all know Sam Allardyce is working hard to shore up the playing side of things and will no doubt feel extra pressure (and enthusiasm) by hearing Ashleyâ€™s extremely ambitious plans.
But we wouldnâ€™t want it any other way.