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Billionaire buys into Magpies
23 May 2007 - 15:58:18
Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley has bought a 41.6 per cent holding in Newcastle United and is believed to be launching a full takeover bid for the club.
The retail entrepreneur has paid Sir John Hall's family more than £55million for his stake in the club.
His firm, St James Holdings Limited, has paid 100 pence a share, 19 per cent higher than the 84 pence closing price of Newcastle's shares on Tuesday.
Ashley made more than £900million earlier this year when he floated his Sports Direct retail chain, which he set up in 1982.
The group runs the Sports World retail chain and Lillywhites, and its brands include Dunlop, Kangol and Karrimor.
In a statement, Ashley said: "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."
The Belgravia Group investment fund was linked with a takeover of the Magpies in 2006 but dropped its plans four months ago, while hedge fund Polygon has also tried to take over the club recently only to pull out of negotiations.