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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Ashley builds Magpie stake to 95%
Newcastle United's Michael Owen
Mr Ashley has given investors extra time to sell up
Newcastle United owner, billionaire Mike Ashley, has revealed he now holds a 94.5% stake in the Premiership club.

The Sports World and Lillywhites owner also announced he has extended his 101 pence a share offer to remaining shareholders in the club to August.

Mr Ashley could have forced remaining shareholders to sell their shares to him under existing takeover rules.

Mr Ashley took over the club in June after chairman Freddy Shepherd agreed to sell his 28% stake for 37.6m.

The move - which valued The Magpies at 131m - gave his company, St James' Holdings, a 70% stake in the club.

Subsequent share purchases took Mr Ashley's holding over the 75% mark, which triggers a full takeover. Once a buyer's stake passes the 90% level the compulsory acquisition of remaining shares can be launched.

Such a move means the buyer would eventually assume ownership of all outstanding shares and has no obligation to give the full offer price - or even any money - to remaining investors.

Buyout trend

Mr Ashley has become the latest investor to buy shares in English and Scottish football clubs - including Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and West Ham.

Thailand's former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is the most recent buyer to follow the trend, snapping up Manchester City. However, news that he is to be tried for corruption charges in Thailand means that the deal is now under threat.

Analysts said that football clubs are seen as cash cows by many investors, especially after they re-negotiated TV rights.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have been trying to improve their position in the Premiership and fans have been getting increasingly frustrated with the team's performance.

Sam Allardyce recently replaced Glenn Roeder as manager of the club.

It was the third managerial change the Magpies have undergone in less than three years.

This season the club finished just five points above the relegation zone, having set a target of a European spot at the start of the campaign.




SEE ALSO
Ashley ups Newcastle United stake
29 Jun 07 |  Business
Ashley to take over Newcastle Utd
07 Jun 07 |  Business
Profile: Mike Ashley
23 May 07 |  Business
Shepherd shocked by Newcastle bid
24 May 07 |  Newcastle United
Newcastle get 133m buyout offer
23 May 07 |  Business

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