St James Holdings

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St James Holdings
Limited company
IndustrySports club holding company
Founded21 May 2007
FounderMichael Ashley
ProductsNewcastle United
OwnerMike Ashley
DivisionsNewcastle United
St James' Park

St James Holdings Limited is a company set up by tycoon Mike Ashley, specifically to acquire shares of Newcastle United Football Club. The company name is a reference to St James' Park, the stadium of Newcastle United.

2007 – Newcastle United takeover bid[edit]

St James' Park, namesake of the company.
23 May

On 23 May 2007 English businessman Mike Ashley bought Sir John Hall's stake in Newcastle United F.C of 41.6% for £55,342,223, valuing the club at £132,810,710.35, he then launched a formal takeover bid at 100p per share.[1] This was a 14% rise on the price at closing on the London Stock Exchange the day before. Chairman Freddy Shepherd, who was in hospital at the time of the bid suffering from a punctured lung, said that he planned to fight the takeover and not allow Mike Ashley to get his hands on his 29.8%.

Under the terms of UK takeover law, having purchased more than 30% of a listed company, he was obliged to make an offer to buy the remaining shares at the same or a greater price.[1]

31 May

On 31 May it was reported that the Newcastle board were considering Ashley's offer.[2] It is widely believed that Mike Ashley then owned around a 54% stake in the club meaning that Freddy Shepherd's 29.8% was then useless and he could have been removed from his position as chairman by the new majority shareholders.

7 June

On the 7 June 2007 Freddy Shepherd and Shepherd Offshore Services Ltd. agreed to sell their stake in Newcastle United and released a statement urging other shareholders to do the same.[3] It was announced that Shepherd would remain in the role of chairman.[4]

15 June

Confirmation came on the 15 June that Mike Ashley and St. James' Holdings had acquired slightly over 77% of the club. This means that Mike Ashley could delist the company from the stock exchange, with the date of 18 July being mentioned in the release.[5]

26 June

On 26 June 2007, Ashley gained the 90% of shares needed to compulsorily acquire the final 10% of shares. On the same day, directors Bruce Shepherd, Allison Antonopoulos, Tim Revill and Douglas Hall formally resigned from the board and both Chris Mort and Steve Hayward were appointed.

18 July

On 18 July 2007, the shares of Newcastle United PLC were delisted from the London Stock Exchange.[6]

2008 – Possible sale[edit]

In September 2008 the club manager Kevin Keegan (who had been appointed in January) left the club. The European style of management introduced by the Ashley regime was cited as the reason for his departure. The fans of the club began to protest outside St James' Park and the players' performance suffered. This pressure led to Mike Ashley releasing a statement and putting the club up for sale.[7] The London-based investment bank Seymour Pierce was appointed to handle the sale of the club.[8]

On 28 December the sale was called off.[9]

2009/10 – Relegation and Promotion[edit]

After Newcastle United were relegated from the Premier League to the Championship on 24 May 2009, it is likely that the club will be sold.[10] According to media reports on 31 May 2009, Ashley is attempting to sell the club again.[11][12] The lowered asking price due to the relegation was £100 million.[13]

On 27 October the sale was again called off. At the same time Ashley decided to sell the naming rights to St. James' Park - namesake of the holding company. This again angered fans.[14] In April 2010 it was confirmed that the club was to return to the Premier League; this is likely to increase the value of the club once again.


  1. ^ a b "Billionaire Ashley launches Newcastle takeover". 2007-05-23. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  2. ^ "Newcastle consider Ashley offer". BBC Sport. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2007-05-31.
  3. ^ "Ashley to take over Newcastle Utd". BBC News. 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-06-17. Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley is set to take control of Newcastle United after chairman Freddy Shepherd agreed to sell his 28% stake in the club. Mr Ashley, who runs the Sportsworld chain and Lillywhites, is to pay £37.6m for the shares - a move that values the club at £131m... The Newcastle United board has urged other shareholders to accept Mr Ashley's 101 pence-per-share offer.
  4. ^ Taylor, Louise (2007-06-07). "Shepherd sells for £37m but remains Newcastle chairman". London. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
  5. ^ "Ashley boosts stake in Newcastle". BBC News. 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2007-06-17. Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley is on course to withdraw football club Newcastle United from the stock market after lifting his stake to 77.06%... The cancellation of Newcastle's listing is expected to take place on 18 July.
  6. ^ "NUFC Plc Statement: July 18, 2007". Newcastle United PLC. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  7. ^ "Mike Ashley - Official Statement". Newcastle United. 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  8. ^ "Official NUFC Statement - Seymour Pierce". Newcastle United. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  9. ^ "Ashley calls off Newcastle sale". BBC News. 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  10. ^ "Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley to discuss relegated Newcastle's future". London: The Guardian. 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  11. ^ "Ashley wants quick Newcastle sale". BBC News. 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  12. ^ "Mike Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale again". Evening Chronicle. 2009-06-01. Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  13. ^ "Newcastle given £100m price tag". BBC Sport. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  14. ^ "Ashley takes Newcastle off market". BBC News. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2009-11-11.