Mike Ashley vs Amanda Staveley in High Court showdown: New twist in Newcastle United takeover as ex-owner sues lady who sealed the deal
- Mike Ashley has launched authorized motion in opposition to Amanda Staveley
- Ashley’s St James Holdings issued a High Court declare in opposition to Staveley
- Details of Ashley’s grievance and the size of his declare stay a thriller
Tracksuit tycoon Mike Ashley has launched authorized motion in opposition to Amanda Staveley, the highly effective financier who led the Saudi-backed takeover of his former soccer membership Newcastle United.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Ashley’s St James Holdings issued a High Court declare in opposition to Staveley in latest days – simply three months after finishing the £305million sale. Staveley has been focused by Ashley’s attorneys alongside her husband, British-Iranian businessman Mehrdad Ghodoussi. It is known that neither has but been personally served with proceedings, however they’re conscious of the case.
Details of Ashley’s grievance and the size of his declare remained a thriller final night time.
Own aim?: The authorized groups of Amanda Staveley and Mike Ashley will quickly be tackling one another on the High Court
Representatives for Ashley, who owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, declined to touch upon the case. Staveley’s representatives additionally declined to remark.
The emergence of potential High Court litigation represents a notable change in tone between the 2. There had been no signal of dangerous blood in the aftermath of the acquisition, which was accomplished in October.
Staveley and Ghodoussi singled out Ashley for reward in their New Year’s message revealed on Newcastle’s web site.
They thanked him and his staff for the ‘dedication’ proven in getting the deal over the road, stressing that it might not have been attainable with out him.
The obvious falling out is the most recent twist in the continued saga of the sale of Newcastle United, which was owned by Ashley for 14 years. The membership was bought by an funding group comprising the Saudi Public Investment Fund, RB Sports & Media and PCP Capital Partners.
Staveley, chief government of PCP, is now on the membership’s board. PIF, which has an estimated worth of £700billion, has taken an 80 per cent share in the membership, whereas the remaining 20 per cent was divided equally between Staveley’s PCP and Reuben Brothers, which owns RB Sports & Media.
The sale, 4 years in the making, had at occasions change into fraught by authorized tussles that threatened to derail the deal.
The Premier League initially determined to dam the sale in 2020 amid considerations over whether or not the brand new house owners would move the ‘possession and administrators check’ and wranglings over international streaming rights.
This led to Ashley launching varied actions in an try and push the deal by. He met resistance from the Premier League and clashed with its chief government Richard Masters.
His authorized battles included a failed try and take away the chairman of an arbitration panel which had been set as much as determine whether or not to again the Premier League’s opposition or approve the takeover.
Ashley needed the chairman to be ousted on the grounds that he was supposedly not unbiased.
He even took the footballing physique earlier than a Competition Appeal Tribunal when it threatened to railroad him into lacking out on promoting his shares in the membership.
As a results of his clashes with the Premier League, the takeover got here near collapse final summer season. But in October the Premier League lastly gave it the inexperienced gentle after it acquired ‘legally binding assurances’ over the Saudi State’s involvement. Ashley had purchased the membership for £133million in 2007 and the latest sale gifted him a major windfall.
His lengthy reign on the membership had at occasions been controversial. In April 2017, HM Revenue & Customs raided the membership with a search warrant referring to the alleged underpayment of tax and National Insurance. However, in May final 12 months that felony investigation was closed.
Fans had frequently railed in opposition to the tycoon over his administration of the membership. Signs of Ashley’s waning affect at Newcastle have change into rapidly obvious, with Sports Direct hoardings being ripped down from Newcastle’s St James Park stadium final month.
Staveley had beforehand mentioned she was excited by the prospect of their elimination: ‘It’s a slight frustration once I go into the stadium and I attempt to take an image which does not have Sports Direct,’ she mentioned.
Details of a monetary tie-up between Ashley and Staveley emerged in 2020 when it was disclosed that St James Holdings had agreed to make a mortgage out there to PCP Capital. However, the MoS understands that Staveley didn’t borrow any funds when buying her 10 per cent stake in the membership.
Ashley’s most up-to-date accounts point out that every one funds referring to the £305million deal have been made. Further paperwork are anticipated to be submitted by Ashley’s authorized staff. Ashley is retaining Dentons for the case – the identical legislation agency that suggested St James Holdings on the takeover. Staveley has known as upon magic circle outfit Freshfields.