Ex Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley in ‘detailed negotiations’ over £22m Headingley investment

Mike Ashley could move from football to cricket with a major investment into historic Yorkshire stadium Headingley.
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Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is in 'detailed negotiations' with Yorkshire Cricket Club over a £22 million deal to buy Headingley Stadium.

The Telegraph reports that Ashley's Frasers Group are frontrunners to complete a deal and look set to beat interest from the Indian Premier League and a third undisclosed overseas consortium. Ashley is believed to want naming rights as part of the deal.

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Yorkshire acquired Headingley in 2005 from Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company for £12 million but the current valuation is nearly double that.

There had been reported interest from Saudi Arabia over the summer but the Middle East country is believed to no longer be in the running anymore.

The sale of Headingley is set to be controversial among some, especially with Ashley's public image marred by years of unrest on Tyneside, but would provide Yorkshire with the chance to move on from financial woes that have been ever-present for years.

The deal is described by the Yorkshire Post as 'complex and commercially sensitive' as Yorkshire look to raise £15 million to pay back the family trust of former chairman Colin Graves. The club also needs to generate several million pounds of working capital.

Mike Ashley could invest in cricket (Image: Getty Images)Mike Ashley could invest in cricket (Image: Getty Images)
Mike Ashley could invest in cricket (Image: Getty Images)
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In December, the club appointed FRP Advisory, corporate refinancing and restructuring specialists, to help attract a £20 million investment. This summer, the English Cricket Board's Discipline Commission also recommended Yorkshire be docked 48 to 72 points in the 2023 County Championship, four to six points in the One Day Cup and four to six points in the T20 Blast.

Ashley has been somewhat out of the limelight since selling Newcastle United to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers in September 2021 for £300 million. That deal has marked a turning point for the Magpies ever since.

Last September, Ashley announced that he would be stepping down from the Frasers Group board to mark the dawn of a new era. A couple of months later, the former Newcastle United owner bought Coventry City stadium, the CBS arena. Frasers Group issued an eviction notice to the football team just a month after securing the deal.

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