St James Holdings

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St James Holdings
Company typeLimited company
IndustrySports club holding company
Founded2006 (2006)
FounderMike Ashley
Defunct2021 (2021)
FateNewcastle United sold to a consortium consisting of PCP Capital Partners, Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund
United Kingdom
ProductsNewcastle United
OwnerMike Ashley
St James' Park
SubsidiariesNewcastle United
Newcastle United W.F.C.

St James Holdings Limited was a company set up by tycoon Mike Ashley, specifically to acquire shares of Newcastle United Football Club during his 2007 takeover. The company name was a reference to St James' Park, the stadium of Newcastle United.

In 2021 company sold its holding in the club to a consortium consisting of PCP Capital Partners, Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).

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. The club was reportedly up for sale for periods of time over the following years.

2021 – Sale of the club[edit]

In 2020 Ashley agreed to sell the club to a consortium consisting of PCP Capital Partners, Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF). However, the sale was blocked until over a year later, and was finally completed on 7 October 2021, selling the club for £305 million.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Billionaire Ashley launches Newcastle takeover". 23 May 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
  2. ^ "Newcastle consider Ashley offer". BBC Sport. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Ashley to take over Newcastle Utd". BBC News. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007. 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 (7 June 2007). "Shepherd sells for £37m but remains Newcastle chairman". London. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  5. ^ "Ashley boosts stake in Newcastle". BBC News. 15 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007. 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. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Mike Ashley - Official Statement". Newcastle United. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Official NUFC Statement - Seymour Pierce". Newcastle United. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Ashley calls off Newcastle sale". BBC News. 28 December 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley to discuss relegated Newcastle's future". London: The Guardian. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Ashley wants quick Newcastle sale". BBC News. 31 May 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  12. ^ "Mike Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale again". Evening Chronicle. 1 June 2009. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Newcastle given £100m price tag". BBC Sport. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Ashley takes Newcastle off market". BBC News. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  15. ^ Ahmed, Murad; England, Andrew (7 October 2021). "Saudi-led consortium completes £305m Newcastle United takeover". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 October 2021.

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