The Herald in Scotland is reporting that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is in advanced talks with Rangers CEO Charles Green, to buy a 10% stake in the famous Scottish club, and to form a joint venture to sell their replica shirts through the Sports Direct stores.
Mike Ashley – 10% stake in Rangers plus a shirt deal
Mike has close to a 69% stake in Sports Direct which he founded back in the 1980s, and with Rangers in the plight they are in at the moment, a 10% stake in Rangers will not cost very much at all.
And if, as expected, Rangers come roaring back up the leagues and back into the Scottish Premier League in three or four years time, the brand name of Rangers will be intact, and the club will be worth much more than it’s worth today, and Mike Ashley will make a big profit, with the emphasis on big.
Back in 2006, when Rangers was owned by David Murray, JJB signed a £48M deal to sell Rangers’ merchandise on an exclusive basis over the next 10 years.
With Rangers having just emerged from bankruptcy (administration), those deals will no longer be valid, and the new deal could be an absolute bargain for Ashley, who presumably will try to get a long term deal to take advantage of Rangers’ poor financial situation right now.
Not surprisingly a spokesman representing Mike Ashley had little to say to the press:
“It is speculation and we will not comment on commercial matters.”
Another Herald source close to the pending deal had this to say:
“Talks are at an advanced stage and the deal should be signed in the next few days.”
Sports Direct has been doing extremely well of late in the retail business, and so much better than JJB Sports, one of its competitors, and that’s represented in their stock prices, with Sports Direct being valued at £1.7B compared to JJB’s measly £22M valuation.
A source familiar with Mike told The Herald:
“Mike has a great business. He certainly knows what he is doing on the merchandising, on the logistics front, that is for sure. Mike will want to get JJB out of the way and pick up the merchandise. It gets him a seat at the table.”
And to complete the comments, a spokesman for JJB Sports said:
“We continue to work with the Rangers owners.”
It’s hard to think how Mike Ashley will not make big money on this deal, and he will unless Rangers fail to come back to their former glories, but surely they will come roaring back – but it will take up to four years to do that from the depths of the Scottish leagues.
And while Mike Ashley struggled for over two years on how to run Newcastle United, after he bought the club back in the summer of 20007, he seems to have cracked the code, and Newcastle is now one of the best financially run football clubs in England.
His 10% stake in Rangers will also presumably give him a seat on the Rangers Board, and a say in what the club does during its comeback.
Independent of any involvement by Mike Ashley, we hope that Rangers come roaring back.
Mike Ashley now knows how to run a club financially, and he’s also managed to bring in some top players at Newcastle, for next to nothing – for peanuts – in Joey Barton’s words.
Newcastle have done some tremendous deals in the transfer market over the last couple of years, but it’s not clear if Mike Ashley wants to buy a bigger stake in Rangers in the future, and he’s probably willing to get a great deal for Sports Direct while Glasgow Rangers are down at the moment – but not out.