Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s shock takeover bid takes fresh twist

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Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is eyeing a return to football ownership.

Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is preparing a takeover bid of Coventry City - just days after he was named as the preferred bidder for their ground, the Coventry Building Society Arena.

News broke last week of Ashley’s hopes of purchasing the Sky Blues’ stadium, which already has a hotel and casino on-site, and is in talks with Coventry City Council about adding further accommodation and a car park.

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Should the Sports Direct tycoon become the landlord of the CBS Arena, the Daily Mail reports that Ashley will have a significant amount of control over Coventry’s commercial activities - putting him in a strong position to purchase the Championship club at a knockdown price.

The owners of the CBS Arena, which also hosts beleaguered Premiership Rugby club Wasps, officially applied to enter administration last Tuesday, with the BBC reporting Arena Coventry Ltd (ACL), Arena Coventry (2006) Ltd and IEC Experience Ltd “expect administration orders to be made in the forthcoming weeks”.

Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) | Getty Images

A spokesperson for Arena Coventry Ltd said: “The companies and the proposed administrators from FRP Advisory have run an accelerated sales process to sell the business and assets of the companies and have identified a preferred bidder.

“The Arena will continue to trade as normal. We would like to thank all the working parties involved in helping the companies get to this stage and we are delighted that the doors will remain open to this flagship venue.”

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Ashley sold Newcastle United to the Public Investment of Saudi Arabia-backed consortium in October 2021 after a turbulent 14 years at St James’ Park. The 58-year-old attempted to buy Derby County in the summer, however local businessmen David Clowes won the race.

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