Earlier today, the secretive entrepreneur bought a 41.6 per cent stake in the club, through his acquisition vehicle St James Holdings from Newcastle United's major shareholder John Hall and family. He is understood to have bought the 55.3 million club shares for£1 each. Under stock exchange rules, Ashley had to make a cash offer for the remaining shares and is poised to buy them at the same price.
Ashley said: 'I am delighted to have this opportunity to invest in Newcastle United. Newcastle has a wonderful heritage and the passion of its fans is legendary. I am sure that, like me, they are already excited about the prospects for next season under the new manager and stewardship.'
Sports Direct founder Ashley floated his business on the stock exchange two months ago, valuing it at almost£2.2 billion and netting him£929 million. However, last month the UK's largest sportswear retailer released a pre-close statement, regarded by many City analysts as a thinly veiled profit warning.