Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has agreed to sell his shareholding to Mike Ashley – a move that is set to see the sports retail billionaire take control of the club.
Ashley will pay £37.6m for Shepherd’s 28% stake which, following on from the businessman’s purchase of 41.6% of the club from Sir John Hall’s family last month, means that Ashley now owns close to 70% of Newcastle United.
Ashley, who runs the Sportsworld retail chain and Lillywhites, bought the shares for a specifically set up holding company, St James Holdings, and only needs a further 5% to trigger a full takeover.
The Newcastle United board has urged other shareholders to accept Ashley's 101 pence-per-share offer. Shepherd is expected to stay on at the club in some capacity.
Ashley beat off interest from investment funds the Belgravia Group and Polygon to achieve the share buyout in Newcastle United.