Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Thursday May 24 2007
With the Mike Ashley bid well and truly underway, the focus of the deal shifts to Freddie Shepherd. Famously describing himself as a streetfighter after having to fight his way in and out of school in Benton as a bairn, we`ll soon be seeing whether he does have the skills or whether it`s just bluff and bluster. The Express sees him full of fighting talk, however from our perspective it looks like he`s got his hands tied.
The flurry of shares trading hands on Monday and Tuesday suggests Ashley might have more than just the 41.6% formerly owned by the halls. Once his holding hits 50% Shepherd realistically becomes a lame duck. However to gain full control Ashley needs Shepherd to sell so that he can take his own stake past the 75% mark. With Shepherd owning 28% plus, he needs Freddie to sell him at least 3 or 4% of his shares plus all the others under ownership.
Bullish as ever, Shepherd said:
'There is nothing Mike Ashley can do with this club unless he gets 75 per cent of the stake. He can't take full control, he can't change resolutions or the club's articles or associations. He has spent more than £50million, but he will have to spend a whole lot more as he must now make an offer not just for my shares, but the shares held by all the other shareholders.'
More developments on this when we get them…
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Date:Thursday May 24 2007
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