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Mike Ashley £1billion ‘wallpaper’ wealth boost – Ends any Newcastle United takeover hopes?

2 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley had pretended he was trying to sell Newcastle United for over a decade.

The NUFC owner first supposedly putting the club up for sale back in 2008 as Newcastle fans demonstrated after Mike Ashley forced Kevin Keegan out of the club, undermining him by using Dennis Wise, giving Wise the final say on transfers in and out, even though he (Mike Ashley) had promised Keegan that it would always be him who held the power.

Mike Ashley said back in 2008 that the fans could stop demonstrating because he promised he would sell Newcastle United ASAP.

As we have come to realise, trust anything else Ashley says at your peril, we are now in the fourteenth season of his NUFC reign.

Yet, this summer something changed.

For the first time, Mike Ashley was not only willing to sell Newcastle United, he was very keen / desperate to sell.

Well, I would say two very obvious reasons why everything had changed.

Firstly, the Saudis had came along and were willing to pay above the going rate, more than the club was really worth.

Secondly, Mike Ashley wanted / needed the money that would be released, once Newcastle United was sold.

As we all know, that sale to the Saudis never happened, the Premier League sitting on it and the Saudis eventually pulling out of the deal.

Mike Ashley was angry / frustrated enough by this, to engage barristers on behalf of himself to take on the Premier League in respect of their ‘rejection’ of the sale of the club to the Saudis, Blackstone Chambers announcing this news in September 2020.

So, the most important thing for Newcastle fans, is will the club still be sold, hopefully somewhere in the near future?

Well, I would say the chances are now somewhere between zero and minimal.

If it is anybody offering the market price, what the club is actually worth, I would say zero to very minimal chance of it happening.

The bottom line is that Ashley’s financial outlook has now totally changed.

I believe the need to sell Newcastle United has now disappeared and why sell a great asset that has given Mike Ashley so much help in growing his empire and fortune?

If you go back to 2 April 2020, the Fraser Group (formerly known as Sports Direct International) saw their shares trading at only 184p. The Mike Ashley retail empire was seen by many to be on the slippery slope, competitors giving them a hard time and the disgraceful actions of Ashley and his business in reaction to the virus crisis, saw their ‘reputation’ at an all time low. Surely no way back for him this time…

Moving forward to the present day, last night (16 November 2020), the Fraser Group saw their share price close at 471p, a rise of over 150% in the past seven months.

Honestly, Mike Ashley and his retail empire are the like the cockroach and the scorpion, the two things that would most likely survive a nuclear war.

Mike Ashley famously called his vast wealth ‘Wallpaper’ when asked why he didn’t show more ambition with Newcastle United, basically saying almost all of his wealth was tied up in shares, not able to be used in helping NUFC to be a more successful business, on and off the pitch.

The thing is, in the past, during his time owning Newcastle United, Mike Ashley has at various terms used his ‘wallpaper’ wealth to help his business enterprises, though not NUFC.

The NUFC owner has sold Sports Direct (now Fraser Group) shares in order to speculate and finance deals and expansion elsewhere.

A number of times Mike Ashley sold a few per cent at a time and the two most recent instances I found were when he raised £117m in cash when reducing his SD / Fraser Group shareholding by 2.7%, this followed the raising of £200m cash in April 2014  when he sold a few per cent of his main business.

These past seven months and that 150%+ increase in the Fraser Group share price, has increased the ‘wallpaper’ value of that shareholding alone, by around £1billion.

Mike Ashley was wanting to raise £300m / £350m by selling Newcastle United, now he could comfortably sell a small part of his Fraser Group shareholding and raise cash if he needs it.

Down the years, I have always thought that the only time we stood a chance of Mike Ashley selling Newcastle United, was when / if he needed that cash to use elsewhere.

Sadly, I think that moment in time has now gone. How he and the Fraser Group have bounced back from what looked a dire situation, is a mystery to me. Clearly the public mood that existed in March and April when people were disgusted at Ashley’s reaction to the virus crisis, has obviously swiftly disappeared once they needed cheap white socks and other gear.

At Newcastle United he has got his ideal scenario, a patsy Head Coach who won’t / can’t make any demands and no matter how badly the squad are managed, there clearly looks to be at least three or four teams at the bottom who will ensure another season of Premier League survival, with Mike Ashley continuing to pick up the usual benefits of having NUFC as part of his business empire, especially the worldwide promotion the football club delivers via global TV deals.

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