Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley completes dramatic takeover involving English club

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Mike Ashley is the new landlord of Coventry City’s CBS Arena.

Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has completed his takeover of the Coventry Building Society Arena - the home of Coventry City Football Club and Wasps Rugby Club.

New Sky Blues owner Doug King, who purchased an 85 per-cent majority share in the Championship club on Wednesday, had made a late attempt to gazump Ashley’s bid but a judge ruled in the 58-year-old’s favour this afternoon.

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It was reported last week Ashley had “agreed an eight figure sum for the stadium company and intends to immediately buy the company out of administration.” Coventry City announced this morning its intention to submit a £25million bid, however, the judge said “there wasn’t enough substance” behind King’s offer.

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)

Ashley was named as the preferred bidder when the owners of the CBS Arena,applied to enter administration earlier this month. He has already held talks with Coventry City Council about adding a hotel and car park in addition to the hotel and casino that is already on site.

Sky Blues chief executive Dave Boddy said in his recent programme notes Ashley has given “assurances” that the former Premier League club will continue to play its home matches at CBS Arena.

He said: “As we go into the World Cup break, the future of the Arena remains unclear. Since writing my notes for Tuesday’s excellent home victory over Wigan Athletic, it has been reported that Mike Ashley’s Fraser Group has an exclusivity period to buy the Coventry Building Society Arena.

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“This period of time ends on November 17, when a decision will be made in the courts as to the future of Arena Coventry Limited.

“The Football Club has had brief initial discussions with the Fraser Group regarding the future of the Arena and their interest in it, and they have given us assurances that the Sky Blues continuing to play at the Arena is very much part of their plans, should they purchase the Arena.”

The Daily Mail had reported that becoming landlord of the CBS Arena would put Ashley in a strong position to purchase Coventry City at a knockdown price given he will have a significant amount of control over Coventry’s commercial activities. However, King’s recent takeover - subject to EFL approval - will likely keep Ashley away, for now.

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. He attempted to buy Derby County in the summer, however local businessmen David Clowes won the race.

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