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Sheikh Khaled registers holding company – Mike Ashley bought Newcastle 48 hours after registering his

2 years ago

Mike Ashley registered holding company St James Holdings on 21 May 2007.

Within 48 hours he was effectively the new owner of Newcastle United.

As on 23 May 2007, it was announced (see below) that Ashley had bought John Hall’s 42% shareholding, which meant a total buyout was only a matter of time.

Earlier today (see below) we brought you news that Sheikh Khaled has today registered his own holding company (Monochrome Acquisition Limited) at Companies House.

Not counting chickens just yet but you would have to be the biggest cynic on Tyneside to believe this isn’t almost certainly linked to Newcastle United.

I don’t think any of us will actually believe it after these 12 years of Mike Ashley rule, until everything is officially announced.

However, plenty of room for optimism that the various steps are underway for the sale of NUFC to happen at long last.

With Mike Ashley owning 100% of the club, it will actually make a complete transfer of ownership far easier compared to that May 2007 buyout, so long as the two parties are in agreement.

(From Companies House back on 21 May 2007)

If things follow as quickly as they did in May 2007, 48 hours time takes us up to Friday.

No guarantee of course that this will/would be the timeline but time is ticking to get the club in decent shape for next season.

Boxes appear to be getting ticked, an announcement by Friday (or any time!) would see some serious celebrations.

The Guardian – 23 May 2007:

‘Sportswear billionaire Mike Ashley has tabled a £133m bid to take control of Newcastle United after buying the 42% stake in the team owned by the Premiership club’s life president Sir John Hall.

Mr Ashley is the founder and deputy chairman of Sports Direct, the newly floated discount sports retailer. In February he banked £930m after the 400-strong chain joined the stockmarket. He retains a £1bn controlling stake.

His 100p-a-share offer for NUFC – being made through a vehicle called St James Holdings – is a 19% premium to Tuesday’s closing price of 84p. Newcastle’s shares jumped 12p to 96p. Newcastle United joined the stock market in 1997 with a float price of 135p-a-share.

Sir John Hall said: “Mike Ashley is a major player in the sporting world and I am convinced he is the right person to take my place and take the club forward. I am sure he will be good for the club”.

In a statement Mr Ashley, who guards his privacy jealously and has rarely been photographed, said the club had “a fantastic infrastructure, for which Sir John and the board must take the credit”.

He also voiced his support for the club’s new manager Sam Allardyce, appointed only last week. “Newcastle United has a wonderful heritage and the passion of its fans is legendary. I am sure that, like me, they are already excited about the prospects for next season under the new manager’s stewardship.”

However, Mr Ashley’s takeover plan could run into opposition from the club’s chairman Freddie Shepherd, who recently made clear his opposition to any sale. He speaks for 28% of the shares.

Newcastle United has been courted by other would-be buyers in recent months, including hedge fund Polygon and Belgravia, a Jersey-based fund.

Polygon eventually walked away, but retained the right to come back if one of the big shareholders sold their stake to a third party.

At the time of the Sports Direct float Mr Ashley said he had no plans for the cash he had raised and intended to put the money in the bank. However, the following month he spent £180m to acquire a 3.14% stake in sportswear giant Adidas – whose products Sports Direct sells at a discount. The deal raised concerns among analysts of conflicts of interest.’

The Mag – Earlier Today (6 June 2019):

Newcastle United takeover, is it on?

Today (5 June 2019) has seen a new company showing as registered at Companies House.

It is called ‘Monochrome Acquisition Limited’ and the nature of its business is listed as ‘Activities of other holding companies not elsewhere classified.’

The only two directors are…Sheikh Khaled and Midhat Kidwai.

Midhat Kidwai is the Managing Director of the Bin Zayed Group and has made two public statements so far (see below) about the potential Newcastle United takeover.

The question on the lips is whether this could be the vehicle they are set to use to buy Newcastle United? It could of course be something else entirely…

The name ‘Monochrome Acquisition Limited’ is an added element with the black and white connotation.

Whilst this new company incorporated today is registered to the address of Pinsent Masons.

This is the same Pinsent Masons (see below) who just happened to oversee the sale of Newcastle United to Mike Ashley in 2007.

Yorkshire Evening Post – 20 June 2007:

AN international law firm with offices in Leeds is advising Premier League football club Newcastle United on a proposed £134m takeover.

A team from Pinsent Masons Leeds office has been advising the board of Newcastle in connection with takeover discussions since the summer of 2006, when the board received formal approaches, firstly from Jersey-based investment company Belgravia and, shortly afterwards, from US hedge fund, Polygon.

The board were unable to agree terms with either of these parties.

Now a new offer is being negotiated from St James Holdings Limited, an English private limited company incorporated for the specific purpose of acquiring shares in Newcastle United, and making the offer, and which is wholly owned and controlled by Mike Ashley.

The offer values Newcastle United’s entire existing issued share capital at 134.4 million.

SJHL announced that following its offer, made on June 7, it owned, controlled or had received valid acceptances in respect of 77.06pc of the existing issued share capital of Newcastle United.

Freddy Shepherd, chairman of Newcastle United, said: “The club is now one of the 20 wealthiest clubs in Europe.

“The offer from SJHL is at a level which fully reflects both the performance of Newcastle and its prospects and ambitions for the future. The board believes that SJHL and Mike Ashley will be excellent custodians of Newcastle United’s heritage and will provide the best possible opportunity for the club to flourish in the future.”

The Pinsent Masons team advising on the recommended cash offer was led by corporate partners Martin Shaw and Philip Goldsborough, supported by assistant John Clegg.

The Newcastle transaction is the second high profile football takeover led by Martin Shaw and Philip Goldsborough in recent months. Both based in Leeds, they led the team that advised Bob Murray and Sunderland on the 48m takeover by a consortium of private investors.

The statement from Midhat Kidwai on Wednesday 29 May 2019:

“In consideration of the numerous speculations in regards to the timelines of the acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club by Bin Zayed Group, we feel the need to issue this statement.

“Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley; these terms have been reflected in a document, signed by both parties, which has been forwarded to the Premier League.

“The proof of funds statement was forwarded to Mike Ashley’s lawyers on 17 April 2019.

“The so called fit-and-proper Premier League process is a standard procedure which will take time, and we are doing all we can to assist the Premier League during this process.

“We feel the need to clarify this point in order for the fans and the general public to understand the timelines.”

The statement from Midhat Kidwai on Monday 27 May 2019:

“In response to numerous reports in the world media this morning, we would like to comment as follows.

“We can confirm the representatives of his Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club.

“We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club.

“We have agreed terms and are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity.

“Best Regards, Midhat Kidwai, Group Managing Director, Bin Zayed Group.”


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