In speculation by the Sunday Sun comes the news none of us wanted to hear. Freddie Shepherd has the possibility of launching his own buyout. With Mike Ashley`s stake at 41.6% he is still short of holding the key 50% number. The paper suggests Shepherd could attempt to buy 50% of the shares, forcing Ashley to sell his stake.
In my own eyes this would be the biggest disaster to ever befall Newcastle United. Here we stand on the brink of new direction, new money and a new future and the dividends hound is still gamely clinging on. Any buyout from Shepherd would mean the club mortgaged to the hilt, with the debt still existing. So much for having the best interests of Newcastle United at heart… Here`s the text anyway:
Shepherd is already within touching distance of the 30 per cent threshold which would oblige him to make an offer to buy all other shares. And it's reported he can count on being able to purchase low-key ally Len Hatton's 3.88 per cent stake at any time. If Shepherd then approached United's institutional investors - who own around 22 per cent of the club - with an offer in excess of 100p per share, he would almost boost his holding to well over 50 per cent and leave Ashley himself with little choice but to sell up.
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