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Opinion

Claims of progress on Newcastle United takeover wide of the mark

3 weeks ago
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Amongst all the understandable gloom and doom on Monday, I saw mention of progress on the Newcastle United takeover.

Claims of talks progressing on Mike Ashley finally settling on a deal to sell ‘his’ football club.

As it stands, we are just two months short of him completing a full 13 years of ownership of NUFC.

Lucky for him, if not for Newcastle fans.

I wouldn’t be getting your hopes up though on any Newcastle United takeover any time soon though.

In fact, quite the opposite.

In desperate times like this, when the world is in turmoil and stock markets are showing massive losses, rich people look to buy up bargains that have fallen on hard times and are forced to sell.

At no time in these past 12 years or so when Mike Ashley has supposedly been trying to sell the club, has he ever indicated that he will give a discount because of negative factors arising. Even when at risk of relegation, Ashley has never been prepared to then take a lower price, based on the fact that there is a risk of the club very shortly been worth a lot less, such as relegation happening.

Likewise, there will be no panic selling of Newcastle United by Mike Ashley because of the possibility of football club generally becoming worth less money, due to the world economy not bouncing back.

Mike Ashley wants top dollar (and the rest) if he ever does sell NUFC, that hasn’t changed and never will.

Mr Ashley will also be feeling a little bruised due to what has happened to the value of his shareholdings elsewhere.

Frasers Group PLC (formerly known as Sports Direct International PLC), has seen its share price crash spectacularly. On 20 February 2020 the share price was 503p, in the space of 25 days it has fallen by some 60%, standing at only 215p at the end of today (Monday 16 March).

Owning over 60% of the Frasers Group PLC shares, that is a serious fall in the paper value of Ashley’s shareholding.

In comparison, Newcastle United must look a very solid investment at the moment, so why would Mike Ashley be actively pushing to sell the club now?

Also of course, when the clouds start to clear around the world and businesses are looking to bounce back. The original reason why Mike Ashley bought the club will be more valid than it ever was, to promote Sports Direct and his other businesses to UK and overseas markets, via the Premier League’s TV deals.

Sorry to be the bringer of more bad news at this time BUT Mike Ashley is not selling up any time soon.

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