Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale

Tue, 17 Oct 2017

Mike Ashley, the controversial chairman of Newcastle United, has announced plans to sell his controlling stake in the Premier League football club and hopes to conclude a deal “by Christmas”.

Any sale would end the Sports Direct billionaire’s 10-year association with the club, during which time the Magpies have been relegated twice from English football’s top tier.

According to the Times newspaper, Newcastle – who currently sit in 9th spot in the Premier League after eight games – could be acquired for £380 million.

Ashley has been a divisive figure since he bought the Tyneside football club for £134.4 million in 2007, often prompting supports to protest about the way the Sports Direct owner has run the club.

He has previously put the club up for sale unsuccessfully: in September 2008 he sounded out offers following a series of angry demonstrations spurred on by club legend Kevin Keegan’s departure, only to take the club off the market in December of that year.

A statement on Newcastle United’s website announcing the sale says the club “requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future”.

Newcastle's statement added: "To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale."

Though no buyers have yet to be identified, it has been reported that Amanda Staveley, one of Britain’s wealthiest women with a net worth of £110 million, could be a potential suitor.

Staveley, a former model and current head of wealth management firm PCP Capital Partners, sparked speculation regarding a takeover deal earlier this season after being spotted at a Newcastle match and talking to club’s managing director Lee Charnley.

Newcastle’s latest accounts – which are correct up to 30 June 2016, just before the club’s relegation to the Championship – reveal an annual profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126 million in the financial year 2015-16.

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