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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 14:31 GMT
Billionaire to own 42% of Watford
Billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft is to become the new majority shareholder of Championship side Watford.

The deputy chairman of the Conservative Party is set to own up to 42% of the shares in Watford Leisure Plc.

His purchase is part of a rights issue designed to raise 6.2m for the club who hope that their debts will be written off as a result.

"Watford is a good business that is making steady and sure progress," Ashcroft told the club website.

Ashcroft added: "My investment will hopefully enable chairman Graham Simpson and chief executive Mark Ashton to take the business to the next level and beyond.

"It is an exciting time to be involved with Watford. The board and the executive management team, led by Graham, have made huge progress."

Lord Ashcroft was a major donor to the Tory Party and was their Treasurer from 1998 to 2001, under the leadership of William Hague.

He already had a 6.5% shareholding in Watford Leisure through his Fordwat investment vehicle.


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