Ashley enlists Harris for his Geordie exit
SEYMOUR Pierce yesterday confirmed it had been appointed to achieve a rapid sale of Mike Ashley’s football club Newcastle United.
Keith Harris, chairman of the City broker has advised on a number of football deals, including playing a pivotal role in selling Chelsea to the Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich in 2003.
If the sale of Newcastle goes ahead at the slashed price tag of £100m it will take Ashley’s total losses over the past 12 months to around £840m. The asking price is £34m less than Ashley paid for the club two years ago, and since then he has ploughed £110m into the north east team. Newcastle’s relegation from the Premier League means the club stands to lose reveneus of at least £30m a season.
Ashley tried to sell the club in September after mass protests from fans following the exit of glorified manager Kevin Keegan. But, unable to find a buyer for the club at the price of £400m, he took it off market.
There had been some interest from various consortia, as well as from former chairman Freddy Shepherd, but no firm takeover offers.
Last week Ashley netted £4.5m from selling his 4.5 per cent stake in rival JJB Sports, but it is barely enough to cover three weeks of players’ wages. But shares in his own retail chain, Sports Direct, have rocketed by 150 per cent since November last year.