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13 years ago - Mike Ashley launches takeover of Newcastle United

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The latest takeover saga of Newcastle United seems to be drawing to a conclusion having rumbled on for months.

While Mike Ashley's proposed Tyneside exit has become an increasingly protracted affair, his arrival caught many including former chairman Freddy Shepherd by surprise.

It was on this day 13 years ago that Ashley launched his Magpies takeover bid by purchasing Sir John Hall's 41.6% stake in the club for £55m, with a reported value of £1 per share.

The shares were acquired through the Sports Direct boss' firm St James Holdings Limited (SJHL), which was established for his investment bid in the club.

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Hall told BBC Newcastle: "I feel Ashley and his team are right. He will take us to a new dimension.

"I'm certain he'll be good for the club or I wouldn't have sold to him.

"He knows the passion of the fans, he knows how much it means on Tyneside.

"I've talked to him enough to be assured they've got the passion for the club as we all have.

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"You can't run a club without being attached to it. You can't run a club without feeling for it because it is about people, it's about the passion of the people.

"He knows the supporters are passionate."

However, the decision caught many including the Magpies chairman by surprise. Shepherd was reportedly receiving hospital treatment for suspected pneumonia when he was told the news.

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He defiantly told the Daily Express: "There is nothing he can do unless he gets 75% of the stake.

"He can't take full control. He must now make an offer for the shares held by all the shareholders."

However, the Sports Direct magnate would go on to secure ownership of the Magpies two months later after convincing Shepherd to sell his stake which was understood to be in the region of 28%.

By June 15, Ashley had surpassed the 75% threshold required to remove the football club from the stock market.




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